Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
1 Corinthians 4:6,7
The Bible teaches that we all have different gifts from God. No two people are exactly alike. That means we will be surrounded by people who are better at some things than we are. And then there will be some things where we excel compared to others. Frankly, that’s what makes the world go round. If we were all equally gifted at the same things, we wouldn’t be able to serve one another with our gifts, and the world would be a very boring place!
That was also true when it came to Paul and his fellow apostles. Paul had a suite of gifts and abilities that were unique to him. And that was true of the other preachers in Paul’s day, including a man named Apollos.
But some Christians in the city of Corinth preferred Apollos over Paul, for whatever reason. Yet Paul wasn’t going to let that bother him because all the gifts he and Apollos had were on loan from God. God had gifted them both; he deserved the credit.
And what was true for Paul and Apollos is also true for us. Paul asked, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” It is easy to believe I am better than those around me. What a tragic sin this is. Not only is it unloving toward the people around me, but it takes credit for the gifts God has given. But when I remember that every ability I have comes from God, I realize I have no reason to boast. Thank God that, through Jesus, he forgives my arrogance and is able to instill an attitude of humble service in my heart so that I can serve him and those around me.
Jesus, help me to be your humble servant by humbly serving others. Amen.