ODJ: whose opinion matters?

July 25, 2015 

READ: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 

God will give to each one whatever praise is due (v.5).

I carefully crafted a Scripture lesson for my church youth group. After I presented it, a young man in the group said, “I believe you could have done a better job.” I was hurt. But then I recalled a phrase once spoken by someone else in the church: “We call ourselves servants of God, but when we’re treated like one we get upset.”

It’s hard to avoid being affected by others’ opinions of us. A pastor wants to know if his sermons are hitting the mark. A young woman wonders if her ministry is meeting the needs of the poor she’s serving. While personal appraisals can help us improve, they shouldn’t be the primary benchmark in validating what we do.

The apostle Paul had a clear perspective that he was a servant of Jesus. He used the less common Greek word hypêrétês for servants in 1 Corinthians 4:1. This word means an under-rower, a figure taken from the galley ships of the time. In other words, he saw himself as a lowly servant.

As such, Paul didn’t focus on how well the Corinthians or anyone else thought he was carrying out his duties or how popular or unpopular he was. His personal evaluations of his own performance were irrelevant (v.3). What did matter to him was God’s estimation of his service. He concentrated on doing the job God had put before him to the best of his ability. He strove to be faithful: “A person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful” (v.2).

Sometimes simple faithfulness to God’s call may not result in big numbers or meeting success markers, so it’s important to fix our eyes on the One we serve—Jesus. The Lord bases His rewards on our faithfulness in simply following Him. And He gives us all we need to do so.

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day-plan: Mark 9:38-50

Read Numbers 12:7, Colossians 1:7, 4:7 and Matthew 24:45. Notice the key character quality highlighted in these verses. 
How have the opinions of others affected you recently? What would it mean for you to do your best for God’s glory and leave the results to Him?