Monday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 (NKJV)
1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 20 and again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
A warning to us who have the Word of God: rejoice in this fact above all, not merely the heritage through which it has been preserved. For us in the ELDoNA, we rejoice not in the diocese per se, but that in this fellowship the Word of God is clung to as it is rightly put on display by the Confessions of Christ’s Church. We glory not in being of “Paul” or “Apollos,” lording it over those planted or watered by another, but know that all God’s gifts are given in Christ, Who is Himself heard and received through the Gospel. Even though those proclaiming it are earthen vessels—even if the pastor through whom we were baptized later remained in an unfaithful fellowship or even renounced Christ—we have and glory in Christ alone.
All Christ’s treasures belong to His Bride, the Church. The Word, the Sacraments, the Office of the Holy Ministry (and those whom God has called to it) are His gifts to us that we are to treasure and use according to His design. They are His instruments through which He has made us His Bride and keeps us as such—that through which the Holy Spirit sanctifies and keeps us with Christ in the true faith. This is our sole and most humble boast: that we are His own and blessed with every good gift now and eternally, not on the basis of any merits of ours or any work of man, but by the work of God alone, by the merit and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grant, O Lord, that we humbly treasure the vessels through which we receive Your Word for the sake of that Word and not for the sake of the men themselves. Amen.