Monday, February 10, 2014
Are you ready to sit at the adult table?
1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (NRSV)
3:1 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
3:2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready,
3:3 for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?
3:4 For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," are you not merely human?
3:5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each.
3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
3:7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each.
3:9 For we are God's servants, working together; you are God's field, God's building.
Vividly I remember family gatherings and holidays with more food and deserts then could be humanly consumed by any amount of people lees than an army regiment. As a child anyone under 16 would have to sit at the children's table. Gathering after gathering as I grew older what used to be a fun experience began to seem like an sentence of incarceration. By the time I was 14 I begged my grandmother to allow me to sit at the adult table. Her reply was that I was not yet ready to take my place at the adult table.
I had a conversation recently with a disgruntled churchgoer, whom was upset because of all of the arguments, backdoor conversations and undermining of leadership in the church. His plea reminded me of Apostle Paul's words to the church of Corinth shared above, and furthermore allowed me to reflect on my grandmothers words in my youth. I understand Paul and my grandmother essentially saying the same thing and asking the same question. For many church members the desire to lead ministries, boards and hold positions of authority are warranted. However we must be ready to sit at as well as head those tables.
My grandmother knew that I was not ready to sit at the adult table, not because I was not big enough or able to eat without messing up the good tablecloths. I was not ready to sit at the adult table because I could not yet productively participate in the adult conversations and issues. Paul posed the same question in verse 4, when he ask why are you fighting and arguing among one another over small issues even to the point of who is better, more accurate and most holy as it pertained to him and Apollos. Paul counts such behavior as childish in God because it is God who has called all according to God's purpose.
Paul invites us to grow into accountability and spiritual maturity in God, by focusing on the big picture of where truth growth and order comes from. True growth and order does not come from the praise team, preacher, or Sunday school teachers. It comes from God. So why waste our time having childish fits on who is the best and brightest among our church. Instead let's decide to prepare ourselves to sit at the adult table and begin to have adult conversations as leaders of the church. Then our language will change and our love will increase. We will began to settle issues with compassion and lead in a new evangelistic and developmental way for the body of membership. Where each and every ministry has nothing but the best teachers and leaders among us, because we are all the best among us, because we are all one TEAM.
Are you ready to sit at the adult table? I know that I am.
Dear God grant us the wisdom to come together as one body on one accord, lead us and guides us into spiritual maturity so that we can work on your behalf kingdom building.
Be well, P.J.