Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-31
Consider: When the world chooses those it wants to lead or instruct them the criteria it uses might be based on things that impress us. Attributes such as being academically gifted, eloquent, or being a good ‘people person’ might be used to sift the candidates until someone rises above the others as the natural choice.
I was thinking about this when I was reading 1 Corinthians and I had to ask myself if I would have chosen Paul as the ideal candidate to become God’s messenger to spread the good news of the gospel. Thankfully I was not in a position to influence the choice and that Paul was God’s man.
Read again what Paul says about himself: For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel – not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17) and – When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God (1 Corinthians 2:1). Paul knew that it was not the force of his public speaking that would win people for Christ. He saw himself as purely the instrument to deliver the message and that it was through the work of the Holy Spirit that the message would bear fruit.
If you had been in a position to interview and select an appropriate candidate to bring the good news to the Gentiles, would you have chosen Paul? It is easy to say yes with the benefit of hindsight, but I would guess that if we had been on the interview panel we would have chosen the wrong person. However, when we look through what is written about and by Paul, we can detect the character traits that God knew would be essential in his chosen man. Paul displayed the following characteristics throughout his ministry – he was patient, courageous, humble, uncompromising (yet not stubborn), ethical (his life matched his words) and forgiving (of wrongs against himself). However, the key to Paul becoming God’s man is revealed in the first verse of 1 Corinthians 1 – ‘Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God …’ It is God’s calling that is essential.
Have you ever been to been in a position where you have had to recommend someone for a pastor/minister’s role in the church. What selection criteria have you used? Has the selection been based on where they studied, how well they did in their studies, how powerful a speaker they were, or even how good they were at social interaction? I would suggest that none of these things is the main criterion that should be used in these selection procedures. What is of vital importance is to know if the candidate has been called and chosen by God for the work. This cannot be discerned purely by interview or even hearing the candidates preach, but it can be discerned through prayer.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Pray: Father, we thank you that you do not choose people based on worldly criteria, but you set aside those you call to serve you in sharing the good news of the gospel. Amen