1 Corinthians 4:1-7

The Ministry of the Apostles

Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.

I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, ‘Nothing beyond what is written’, so that none of you will be puffed up in favour of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?

Today’s epistle reading from the Daily Office Lectionary is a very clear reminder to us all to be careful about judgement as well as a direct blow to our egos about all of our achievements and all of our stuff! 

We are all guilty of both. Let’s face it. And as surely as the people in Corinth needed a reminder that they should not judge – so do we. And as surely as the people in Corinth needed to have some hot air realsed from their puffed up selves — so do we.

Paul’s advice is clear. Be humble and be trustworthy. Being stewards requires humility and a trust that it is God’s judgment that counts and no other. There is therefore no need for trying to impress another or to be reduced by another’s judgement. It is a call to be humble in a haughty world! 

In the Daily Bread Reflection of Henri Nowen, today we read…

To be able to enjoy fully the many good things the world has to offer, we must be detached from them. To be detached does not mean to be indifferent or uninterested. It means to be nonpossessive. Life is a gift to be grateful for and not a property to cling to.

A nonpossessive life is a free life. But such freedom is only possible when we have a deep sense of belonging. To whom then do we belong? We belong to God, and the God to whom we belong has sent us into the world to proclaim in his Name that all of creation is created in and by love and calls us to gratitude and joy. That is what the “detached” life is all about. It is a life in which we are free to offer praise and thanksgiving.

Let us take time this Lent to judge less, and work to be nonpossessive. I pray that we we all may live a detached life – free to offer praise and thanksgiving.