Servants and Stewards

Servants and Stewards

“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards
of the mysteries of God”
(1 Corinthians 4:1).

There are three sections in chapter 4 of first Letter to Corinthians.

  • In the first section (vv. 1-10), Paul addresses those who are responsible for the gospel ministry: pastors, elders, and other leaders. They were not to be heading factions, parties in conflict. Chirst gave His workers the responsibility to share His Word with the world. They are not to preach and teach human opinions and beliefs, but are responsible for presenting the pure message of salvation, not adulterated by human philosophy. They must be faithful and trustworthy.
  • In the second section (vv. 11-13), Paul reminds them that those who serve God will suffer, but they must bear it with courage. In the face of lies, they must bless; in the face of persecution, they must endure; in the face of disputes, they must seek reconciliation.
  • Finally, the rhird section (vv. 14-21), Paul writes as a father to his children. He poses the challenge to them of imitating his behavior. And, as a good father, he draws their attention by saying that they should not be arrogant.

Those who take the gospel of Jesus Christ seriously are called to be examples as administrators and servants. Not only is it necessary to teach, speak, and guide, but it is also very necessary to show the power of the gospel through example.

Talking is easy, but to set an example is to act or behave in a way that others can immitate. An example is a person or thing worthy of being imitated for their good qualities. “For example” is the expression used to present a specific case of what we are explaining, and to “use someone as an example” is to act or behave in the same way as another person.

In the text, moreover, Paul mentions servants. Originally, rowers in war galleys were designated with that term to distinguish them from soldiers fighting on the deck. It then began to be used for any subordinate who did heavy work or the orderlies who served the commander. Hence, Paul believes that these servants are the orderlies of the great Commander-in-Chief, Jesus, thus being the official human representatives of Christ and the royal officials of His kingdom.

For their part, the administrators are the stewards. The Greeks applied this word to the slaves or the freedmen to whom they entrusted the care and management of the house and land belonging to their master. The minister of the gospel – to minister is to serve – is in charge of God’s church on earth and must provide everything necessary for its well-being.

Lors, help us to be faithful servants and administrators
of Your church, seeking to save sinners,
because “the Bible does not command sinners
to seek the church, but commands the church
to seek sinners” Billy Graham.

God bless you, be a good servant…