Believers should view leaders simply as “servants of Christ.” As such, Jesus will evaluate their work when the time comes, and the criteria he will use is simply that of faithfulness. God does not evaluate us on the basis of the different gifts or tasks he has given us. We should not boast about these differences either, as if our assignments reflected some personal superiority rather than simply a gift or calling given to us by God.
For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 4:7
This is encouraging for each of us. You or I may not have a gift the worldy person views as important. But what counts with God is our faithfulness in using the gifts and abilities we do have to serve others.
The Privilege of Suffering
Rather than build little empires, spiritual leaders should abandon all and willingly accept suffering to better serve God and other believers.
We are fools for Christ’s sake… we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure. 4:10-12
The Privilege of Authority
Paul concludes with a warning. Spiritual leaders do have authority, and this matter of unity is so vital that any who remain arrogant or divisive will be disciplined when Paul next visits.
In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me… I will come to you soon. I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant, but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power. 4:15-20
I am willing to accept a man such as Paul as my spiritual father, yes. My mind gladly responds to his sound teaching. They are not just in words, but in power.
As I read his words, I find my place… and calmness and joy in knowing that we are already filled and have become rich. We are servants of Christ, stewards of the mysteries of God and His heirs.