“1 Corinthians 3:1-9 – “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.“(1 Corinthians 3:1-9 ESV)
There’s a thing we see in churches sometimes when a pastor retires or takes a call. Suddenly the number of people attending the church drops by half. It may take a years before attendance gets back to normal. Why does this happen?
I’m afraid it’s the problem that Paul noticed with the Corinthians. Those young Christians were sorting themselves into parties based on their favorite teacher—paying more attention to them than to Jesus Himself! And of course, that caused fights in the church. There were arguments, there was grumbling—all the things we don’t want to see with the people of God.
But this happens to us today too, doesn’t it? We hear a lot of talk about the “good old days,” and “how things used to be.” And it might even be worse now because we are remembering the days before the pandemic—the days when many people we love were still alive and others were still healthy enough to come to church. And we sigh, and think about how things have changed—and blame each other.
But Jesus calls us to something better. He calls us to look to Him—only Him—Jesus Christ, who is the same today and yesterday and forever. He was there in the good old days we remember so fondly. He is here with us now as we struggle and try to recover. And He will be with us in the future no matter what happens because He is God and our Savior. He gave His life for us, and He rose from the dead; how could He possibly desert us now?
Let’s allow Jesus to take us by the hand and lead us into the future He has for us. Let’s go forward as a single body, the body of Christ. Following Him, we will grow up together in love and mutual support. We will learn to celebrate our differences instead of being afraid of them. And God’s Holy Spirit will dwell within us and strengthen us in faith, so our hearts are always with Jesus—the One who loves us and calls us to be one.
Prayer: Lord, set my heart on You instead of anyone else. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on February 8, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Have you seen this kind of church conflict before—where people follow different leaders?
2. How can we learn to love one another in the church as Jesus wants?
3. How does Jesus help you love people you’re in conflict with?