February 14

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” vss. 6-7

Ever since the first mission starts were established by the apostles in the Eastern Mediterranean area the Church has been plagued by what might be called “the cult of personality.” Paul had to deal with it in Corinth. A silver-tongued, handsome preacher from Alexandria named Apollos, had been in the congregation, and some of the people adored him. They began to say that they belonged to Apollos, while others maintained a loyalty to Paul. The result was division! We know what that’s like. People fall in love with their preachers and identify their congregation with that particular pastor. If that pastor leaves, things are never the same–some people even leave. Now it’s probably impossible to eliminate such a thing in the life of the church, but it’s never helpful. As Paul told the Corinthians, congregations don’t belong to a particular preacher or pastor–every congregation belongs to God–and it is God who gives the growth. What a blessing it is in our communities of faith when loyalties are centered on faith in Jesus, and not on personality. In such congregations worship and service are a constant, and they aren’t dependent on who’s giving the sermon! Obviously pastors have different gifts, but their common call is to proclaim the gospel, and not gather a following.

Thought for the Day: Why do people fall in love with pastors or priests?

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