Bible Society of South Africa

Do not follow personality - 20 October 2023

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

4When one of you says, “I follow Paul”, and another, “I follow Apollos” — aren't you acting like worldly people?

5After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? We are simply God's servants, by whom you were led to believe. Each one of us does the work which the Lord gave him to do: 6I sowed the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. 7The one who sows and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow.

1 Corinthians 3:4-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

Recently, I fell into the trap that so easily besets us, as humans: revering man above God.

A clip of a minister who had masterfully responded to an atheist enquiring about the origins of God in relation to matter, time and space came to my attention. As you can well imagine, I was gobsmacked.

The theologian in question responded in so emphatic a manner and exuded such confidence that I was filled with admiration, immediately taken by the individual’s learned background and intrigued by his person.

And in so doing, I missed the whole point of how great God was, patently highlighted when I shared the clip with friends and one promptly remarked that based on these premises raised from the Word, she should have no problem trusting in this great God. A forceful statement of faith, indeed.

It was a moment to reflect upon. Instead of meditating on the goodness of God, I thought about a human’s ability to craft a really good argument. For me, it showed me how easily I could place my focus on the ability of human beings instead of the glory and goodness of God. And how easily I missed the point.

Perhaps it is why Isaiah 53 reveals that Jesus had no majesty in his physical appearance to distract us from the essence of his message. Allegedly, Moses stammered when speaking and as for the Twelve Apostles – a motley crew of men – they were as diverse and as flawed as they come.

What about Paul? From reading about him in the Scriptures, I am sure that had I met him in person, I would have found myself so intimidated in his presence. Yet, 2 Corinthians 10:10 states: “For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” While Galatians 6:11 seems to indicate that his eyesight was poor and large lettering was used: “See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!”

I, for one, am certainly happy that ordinary folk can be used to do great things in the hands of an extraordinary God.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you use us as we are, warts and all. In your kingdom, we all have a role to play. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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