I read 1 Corinthians 3 today. The following prayer arose from this meditation and continues the series on praying through 1 Corinthians.
Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. Each will receive his wages according to his labor. Lord, we often grumble and complain and want to be recognized for the labor that we have done for your kingdom. Though we do good and the Gospel is proclaimed and advanced we forget that it is by your grace that it goes forth. We want to be first, we want to be given accolades for our service, to be patted on the back and to take credit for the growth. This attitude our Lord condemned in his parable from Mathew 20. We should not expect rewards and recognition for the service we render unto the kingdom. Our Lord has called us and makes us worthy by the blood of Christ. It is all of grace and we can not boast. Whether we labor for 12 hours or only the last hour we owe it all to Christ. It is a priviledge to serve the King for His glory, not for our sakes. Let us put aside jealousies and self and work with humility and love to serve the Gospel that others will be brought into fellowship by Christ's good grace to serve and honor and glory God alone.
Let us remember that the church is yours and it is called to holiness. We must serve you as your holy people and put aside the strife and conflicts and self ambition. Lord we pray that you will remind us who's we are... for we are Christ's and Christ is God's. That is the security we have. Not in men and wise doctrine or fancy presentations or inspirational music or comfortable pews. Can we be content to be yours meeting in your presence while sitting on a hard log in a hot open space but with surrounded by your children and those who worship and love and serve you. May the foundation of our churches (your church) and our hope be Christ. May we not build a gospel on anything else. AMEN!
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. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
(1Co 3:1-23 ESV)
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So the last will be first, and the first last."
(Mat 20:1-16 ESV)