1 Corinthians 4:8-13
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
Already you have everything, but don’t let anyone say you don’t deserve it. Sure, God gave the opportunities, but you made room for them with hard work and smarts. This church is lucky to have people like you—educated, sensitive, kind, with talent and leadership qualities but all very understated and classy. Someone said once that this church is a model for the future of the denomination. You’ve been to other churches and you agree.
You value education. You value hard work. You live comfortably but you hate flashiness. You receive no charity. You do not cry in public. You pity those who do. You surround yourself with others like you. Sometimes people show up who are different and you’re relieved when they go. Like that one guy with the rough past, which was great for testimony time but a little intense for weekly Bible study. Or the lady who prayed too loud and who wasn’t at all interested in sports or music or anything else you could relate to. She couldn’t take a joke, either. It was a little embarrassing, having them around.
People come to you for advice. You’ve been asked to take positions of leadership both professionally and at church. You’re no pushover. You do not suffer fools. When criticized, you know just how to respectfully set the record straight. Not everyone is like that. Some Christians go a little overboard. They take things too literally. They allow themselves to be mocked. They don’t fight back. They risk too much, and unnecessarily. If you’re to be honest, it makes you cringe to see them act like martyrs, giving up things God never said you had to give up, trying to be saints when everyone knows that’s just a sign of religious snobbery. No wonder the world thinks Christians are pathetic. If only they could meet the right kind of Christian, like you, they’d have a different opinion.