1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 4

The Faithful Manager

by

Today's Text: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21, Zephaniah 2:3, 1 Peter 5:5

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21, Zephaniah 2:3, 1 Peter 5:5

You don’t have to have a Bible college diploma hanging on your wall. You don’t need a passport stamped from developing countries. Your name need not appear on the official list of staff members for your church. Plant your feet firmly in this truth: If you are a follower of Jesus, you are already a minister for the gospel. Because the stakes are high, this reality can paralyze us. We throw around words like “calling” and “ministry” so often, but we secretly suspect we’re somehow doing it wrong.

While confirming our assignment to be followers and leaders, Paul invites us to rest in this call. He offers us a two-word job description for ministry here in 1 Corinthians 4, inviting us to throw giftedness, opportunity, and needs into a pot, and boil ministry down to its very essence. What is ultimately required of us as ministers? To be “servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God” (v.1).

We are “managers of the mysteries of God.” Gulp! That sounds weighty, but in the same passage, Paul warns us “not to go beyond what is written” (v. 6). In other words, stick with Scripture. The mysteries of God we’re responsible to carry are the good news of the gospel and the Word of God.

Every believer—from the youngest to the oldest among us, both Bible scholars and Bible newbies—is a carrier of the good news with a shared responsibility to know and proclaim the Word. Paul is urging us, as disciples in ministry, to think of the Bible like a treasure. And it is! Like finding a cache of jewels buried in the backyard, we didn’t create this treasure, yet we get to claim it as our own as we carry it and deliver it to both the fellow believers and non-believers we rub elbows with each day.

God’s Word is a treasure because it reveals who God is. He is supreme, sufficient, spectacular, and in the full-time business of saving us from our sin. This cannot help but bend our knees and turn our hearts. As we steward God’s Word, we step into the other shoe that comes with ministry; we become servants.

We are willing to serve Christ’s Church because of all He has done for us. We are willing to serve those who don’t know Him by sharing who He is. We are willing to serve each other because we know now, deep in our guts, that none of us deserves a seat at this table. The chord we are bound to is grace, and it makes us want to share it in abundance with one another.

Regardless of your day job, no matter what titles you hold, and in spite of your sin and failures—you are a minister of the gospel if you are in Christ Jesus. His grace is your qualification. So serve faithfully and joyfully the God “who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God” (v.5). Amen.

SRT-Corinthians-Shareimage-Day4

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

  • Virginia

    I too am an introvert and lack confidence in my knowledge of the Bible to feel like I can spread the Gospel. I always felt like I needed a degree in something to be able or speak. This word today has hit me where I live. I love the comments too. They show me that I do and have made a difference in someone’s life for God. And that He equips us as needed without a degree! Praise God!

  • Courtney

    Best role description for anything I’ve desired to be apart of :
    ~Requirements
    1.To be a servant
    2.Manager of God’s good news & Word of God

    Qualifications: His Grace

    Everyone is offered this position. There is no previous experience needed, no pressure from other candidates, and the interview is eliminated. The benefits are free & last eternity EVERYONE IS ACCEPTED! Choose to experience the power of God and be given the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • Cori S.

    “His grace is your qualification.” Amen. How our lives would change if we lived this belief every minute.

  • Sara Harper

    “Who will bring to light things now hidden in darkness” underlined and circled!!!

  • Maria Cash

    Wow! I absolutely needed to hear this truth today. Sometimes I feel like I’m struggling so hard to figure out what “my ministry” is, but this just laid it out so perfectly…To know Christ and to make Him known. We all have different gifts that can be used within the Body, but we share in this same ministry. Amen!

  • Ally Gould

    My husband and I run the youth program with an inner city ministry. A young lady that had been involved in our ministry since she was a little girl passed away due to circumstances many people in our city find themselves in. I watch my parents (who started the ministry 16 years ago) have their hearts broken because they loved her, invested greatly in her, and never stopped praying for her. Watching this happen, I had begun to doubt myself and my husbands position in this ministry. I am pretty introverted and have a hard time connecting on a personal level with the kids we work with. I started wondering whether this was truly where we have been “called.” Am I able to make a difference? Am I good enough to be the light of Christ to those around us? … This devotional today reminded me that I was not called to this place because my gifts and talents qualified me for the job. Rather, I have been qualified because of his grace. I pray that God will begin to instill a confidence in me that allows relationships to deepen and that his love would be the foundation. I pray that despite my fears and doubts, he would continually remind me that he is working through me and I am not required to carry this mission on my own.

    • Christina Dodd

      Ally- wow! This is hard stuff! You pointed out a truth that I needed to hear too “I have been qualified because of his grace.” I love that as I struggle with feelings of insecurity in my daily callings. Thank you for sharing! I will say a prayer for you right now!

    • Vanessa

      It’s not always about the results. All God is asking for you is to obey Him! It’s saddening because we expect that everything we’re called to will yield miraculous results. Not always. I don’t know why. I’m not saying to stop hoping for the miraculous, but to rely on Him more than the miracles. Remember: “God is greater than the highs AND lows.” I’m so sorry you had to experience that with the young lady though.

      On the note of you being introverted, I am too! Ally, I hope you see this. You are not TOO introverted to be in ministry. You don’t have to be loud and outgoing to connect with people. There are a few articles on being an introvert in the church. I’ll have to find them. But there were so many introverts in the Bible that worked behind the scenes but were a HUGE part of God’s plan. You may feel like you have small, quiet personality (you don’t), but you’re still a part of a BIG picture. Please feel valid in God’s Kingdom. So many introverts allow ourselves to see our introversion in ministry as a hurdle. It’s actually the opposite!

      1 Peter 3: 4 says, “Your inner self, [your] unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…is of great worth in God’s sight.”

      Try to make a list of your strengths as a person, not your shortcomings as a “introvert”. Mine are: good listener, relatable, down to earth, I see people in the church who are often unseen, I make people feel at peace and comfortable, I show people I don’t have to be a loud Christian to follow Jesus.

      People will be drawn to you simply because you *aren’t* loud. Why? Because they will sense the Spirit of God inside of you, not surface-level personality quirks. It’s HIS spirit that draws people to God, not extroversion.

      Your prayer that God is working in you is heard! Be at peace.

      • Hope

        I love what you said here. I’m reading a book right now called unseen. It has been such a good reminder that our ONLY job is to be still before God, obey him when he says Go, and to know more times than not that our obeidence is for an audience of 1….. not all of us will lead a major revival, but through our obiedence those who need to will see Christ in us and our opportunities to further his name will flow from there. And even if they don’t we can rest satisfied that we have heard and obeyed the one who matters most

  • Vicki Kitchens

    Love this! Needed to read this today!

  • Amy Videon

    “His grace is your qualification.” That simple sentence hit me hard today.

  • Diane Haller

    In my pride I long for approval or recognition from my husband and children. When I don’t get it, I can sulk and feel discouraged. I have to remember that my approval and reward comes from the Lord. I shouldn’t serve for approval or even “thanks”, but should serve for my Lord and wait upon His approval and rewards. Good and necessary reminder for this wife and mama!

    • Kate

      thank you for this! I too struggle when I feel like I’m trying so hard and no one else seems to see it. God sees it and that should be enough for me

    • Susan

      Amen, Diane. I’m also of the sulky type sometimes. I call those times ‘having a Martha moment’. They always catch me up though, once I calm down and see just what I’m doing. And so, I have my conversation with God and get back on the right track …

    • Kenzi Shipley

      I struggle with this too! I am finding if I am not careful, I look for approval, mission and love from my husband. That is not God’s intent! This was a good reminder to me as I am walking through this lesson in this season that my purpose is to serve Jesus and look to him for love and approval. That’s how we were designed to be!

    • Alyssa Baker

      Thank you for that! I fall into the same trap. Look to Jesus. I need more of that.

    • Kim Koehler

      Yes!!

  • Brianna Foshie

    This was something I really needed to read. I already have so much to be thankful for and I let fear of not doing more or being more overcome me almost daily. God has given me everything I need and for that I praise him. Learning as I go.

  • Maria Moussa

    The line “if, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as of you hadn’t received it?” Is making me really reflect today. I have never asked myself this sort of thing. It’s one of the essences of my sinful nature’s.

  • Chi Obasi

    That call out about “callings” and “ministry” while feeling lost was so convicting. Sometimes I feel like I have to give ALL of myself to the church in order to be “good enough” or to be a “worthy” Christian. It’s hard to accept that the greatest gift we’ll ever receive was given freely, but that’s also what makes it so beautiful ❤️

  • Jennifer Martin

    Amen!

  • Ana Lisa Johnson

    I don’t need anyone’s approval but God’s!

  • England Elsie

    Really struggling today. So desire not to be single. And think time has run out on being a Mother. Every one around me has wonderful new stages of life. My life feels constantly stagnant. Try ever so hard not to look and compare and just keep doing what God has for my life. But it is hard.

    • Krystle

      Never think that time has run out, for nothing shall be impossible with God! I can’t say whether or not He’ll give you a child, but keep praying, keep obeying. Be honest with Him about how you feel. Cry out to Him. He’s not surprised at your dismay, and He’ll bring you comfort and peace beyond your understanding. I’m praying for your strength, sister. ❤️

    • Angela

      I was a later in life getting married and at now a few years later at 46 I am working at accepting God’s plan appears to be not to include children of my own. As painful as that is at times I want to encourage you with what I use to try to encourage myself….I want His plan above all for my life. This is what I try to hold onto amid the times of sadness and pain. It isn’t easy being childless-not by choice-but if that is the life God has before me where I can beat serve and glorify Him than I will continue to focus on the peace I find in that. Hugs to you. I know the heart ache and it is true….all things are possible!

      • England Elsie

        Wonderful Angela about you getting married and your faithfulness.

    • Kellynpowers

      Totally understand as I am in the same place in life… when my eyes shift from God and what He is doing around me to what I don’t have (especially when others seem to be in the place I want to be) I get depressed and discouraged. Just need to keep my eyes up… continuing struggle but I miss the beauty around me when my eyes turn inward…

    • Searching

      I married late and not long after got the heartbreaking news I would be unable to have children. I struggled with it and even 30 years later it hits me occasionally BUT the Lord put many children in my path once I opened my eyes. there are so many children who could use help with reading or some other subject at school or need foster care or a buddy. Praying the Lord will show you a need that will be a blessing to you.

      • England Elsie

        Oh Searching that must have been hard. Yes, God has put a lot of children in my path and for that I am thankful and I hope he continues to do.

    • Amber Anyanwu

      Hey England Elsie. I started this reading a few days late and I am playing catch-up this morning. I just want you to know I hear your hurt. It is really hard to desire so strongly for something that you have been taught is “good” and not see God working things out for your good. I know God to be faithful and I am so stoked that the 1 Cor 1:9 verse is where they are taking us for memorization this week. I have written your name right here beside that verse and I will pray for this verse to become as real as it ever has in your life this week! Love you sister

  • Regardless of your day job, no matter what titles you hold, and IN SPITE OF YOUR SIN AND FAILURES—you are a minister of the gospel if you are in Christ Jesus. WOW!!!

  • When I read this post by Erin Davis, it wasn’t what I expected. I took away something else from the scriptures. The Word of God is alive and I know that it has the power to speak unique messages to different hearts. What struck me most was 1 Co 4: 3c: “In fact, I do not even judge myself.” I can be guilty of judging myself harshly; worse yet, when I ‘meet my expectations’ I begin also to pridefully judge others. But “what do [I] have that [I] did not receive”?! A recurring theme in each of the passages was humility, of which I am in great need. The post by Erin Davis then points me in the right direction: serve. Minister. I need to stop looking at myself and look to God, His people, and what I can do for His kingdom. Just thinking out loud and making personal connections… grateful to be here this morning.

    • PamC

      Oh! Really good Zoe! I too judge myself harshly & and I think comparison is my middle name. Yesterday we learned about pride hiding as self pity. This is the next step. I’m so grateful to see your post & Erin’s.

    • Katelyn

      Zoe, thank you for sharing your takeaway from the passage!

    • April

      Zoe, this is what stuck out to me too! Coupled with the next verse, all of our judging is “before the appointed time” … and we are told the appointed time: “wait till the Lord comes”. (v5)

      This immediately made me think how No one would have a baked goods contest where the judge taste tested (judged) before they’re done. Yet, when we judge any person at any time, it is “before the appointed time” simply because He hasn’t come yet.

      • Zoe

        What a fantastic explanation of what it’s like when we judge “before the appointed time.” I did not much understand that phrase until you put it under this light. Wonderful. Thank you

    • Michelle

      I was thinking humility as well as I read the Bible passage…great connect to ministry and serve. Thank you.

  • Carol Ames

    This really hit me over the head

  • Jennifer Smith

    I completely agree. I think the struggle for me is feeling good enough for His grace. It is easy to feel unworthy of that grace therefore I am not really a minister to Christ that is for someone else who is good, pure, mor Christ like etc.

  • Christina Ballard

    this is so convicting!!

  • Carrie Rogers

    So good! Amen!

  • Thank you for this reminder! These are the words I need to read today and your obedience to use the talent God has blessed you with have brought me to the throne of grace. Thank you Erin, SRT staff, and Heavenly Father.

  • Though I rarely ever post and rather just read all of the other wonderful comments that are helping me grow, I felt led to post today!

    We are a social media society. This constant need to share our every thought, purchase, concert, vacation, and the like has led many (including myself) to feel “less than” at times and has even been linked to depression.

    Verse 7 really spoke to me today. “For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? … You are already full! You are already rich!”

    We need to turn away from looking at all that others do and have and realize that is all “stuff”. And while our “stuff” and the memories made from vacations, concerts, etc. can bring us happiness, our fullness and richness comes from our relationship with Jesus and all of the blessings he has bestowed upon us.

  • Kelly Ritter

    “Because deep down in our guts we know that none of us deserve a seat at this table” yikes. How often do I act entitled to the grace bestowed on me? Shame on me. God is so good and faithful and His grace is so abundant. This is so helpful in loving the body of Christ and reaching out to the lost.

    • Annesta Lunde

      This same thought hit me as well. No room for pride in our lives. Praise God for His grace freely given and may I boldly proclaim his love and grace every where I go today.

  • I just love the summary of Erin’s last paragraph! This really speaks volumes to me…I will seek to serve faithfully and joyfully wherever I am each day !

  • We are fools for Christ.
    We are dishonored.
    We are hungry and thirsty.
    We wear rags.
    We are homeless.
    We are brutally treated.
    We are cursed – we choose to bless.
    We are persecuted – we choose to endure it.
    We are slandered – we choose to answer kindly.

    And yet, even after saying all of that, Paul tells the Corinthians to imitate him. He considers all of those things reasons to be a follower of Jesus. He has grasped that he is a manager of the mysteries of God, no matter of his circumstances.

    This is a reminder to me: to remember that my conduct doesn’t just reflect who I am… but who my God is. May I always be willing to point to Jesus, no matter what challenges I face.

  • “His Grace is your qualification!” … Such a great reminder!

  • Kelly Chataine

    God has done it all. He loves us! He forgives us! He redeems us! He sanctifies us! He gifts us! He leads us! He strengthens us! He abides in us! He fills us! He gave us the feet, hands, and mouth to go out, serve others, and tell all about His Son, Jesus!

  • This was so timely and expressed why I serve in leading Bible study at my church. I am so not eloquent or adequate in and of myself. Yet in my willingness to serve as He has called me to serve, He uses me to bring His Word to those who need to hear it. I do not deserve a seat at His table, but by His grace He forgives, redeems and accepts me, and as a follower of His I am a minister of the gospel to share to others of all He has done for me. Thank you for this great word today, Erin.

  • Recently as I was walking through a grocery store parking lot I saw a man covered head to toe with Christian symbols. He even had them tattooed on his skin. His car was emblazoned with scripture verses. He was shouting to a woman that God loved her and she was smiling. I celebrated his passion and boldness in proclaiming his love for God. I thought about myself and how no one looking at me could tell that I was a follower of Christ.
    That said, I am not a flamboyant sort of person. I’m fairly conservative in my dress and manner. Does that make me any less of a witness for Christ? One of the things I love about God is that He made us all different and can use each of us in different ways. Maybe I can appeal to someone who would be put off by this man’s outgoing personality. Sometimes a quiet word or smile can mean a lot.
    Still, I admire those who can so boldly proclaim the love of God. As I head into this day may I have an opportunity to proclaim Christ to a hurting world.
    One more thing, my husband is at a conference today called Better Angels. It is this first national conference of people specifically designed to bring people on the ‘left’ and ‘right’ politically together and try to find a way to listen and respect each other and begin to heal the rift in our county. He is asking for prayers for the conference group.

    • Kelly Chataine

      Loved your post, all of it. Praying for “the left” and “the right” to be brought together. What a timely mission.

    • Sandy Forsythe

      Love your message! And may God hold your husband and his team in His hands.

    • Lauren DragerRuhe

      We so need that right now. I pray they all be open and receptive to one another, and just like Paul writes, that they will not judge each other prematurely.

    • Lisa M

      That is wonderful, and much needed.

    • PamC

      ❤️

    • Katelyn

      Bessie, thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts! I’m praying that productive collaboration and good change is brought about by the conference

    • Katie Morrison

      So appreciative for their political efforts. PrayingN

    • Susan

      Beautiful testimony, Bessie. We all have different levels of light and we let that light shine in different ways …

  • Churchmouse

    “We are willing to serve Christ’s church because of all He had done for us.”
    Yes.
    “We are willing to serve those who don’t know Him by sharing who He is.”
    Yes.
    “We are willing to serve each other because we know now, deep in our guts, that none of us deserved a seat at this table.”
    Yes.
    We are willing. These three words. Thank you, Erin, for these three.
    Being a minister for the Gospel so requires willingness.
    Willingness to turn the pages of my Bible more often than I scroll through social media.
    Willingness to sit in a Bible study group and ask my ‘dumb question ‘ so that I might maneuver through the mysteries of God.
    Willingness to befriend an unbeliever and share what I know and admit what I don’t know.
    Willingness to confess when I single in my Jesus witness and in my Jesus walk and humbly ask for forgiveness.
    Willingness to then get up tomorrow and do it all again.
    I am called to be a minister for the Gospel.
    I am willing.
    Because
    Jesus is worth the effort.
    He is worth it.
    And
    He is worthy.

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