So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:7
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Grace and peace to you from the Triune God. Amen.
When people do something great, most of them expect praise or at least some recognition for their accomplishments. Truth be told, some people actively demand praise for the good deeds they have performed.
Sadly, this all-too-human practice sometimes manages to make its way into the church. Most of us have met individuals -- both clergy and laity -- who seek to have parades and palm branches laid before them for the work they are doing for the church.
It occurs to me that if ever there was someone who, by worldly standards, deserved a palm-branch parade, it was the apostle Paul. He was vilified, bound in chains, thrown in prison, and even placed at death's door -- several times.
If those credentials do not qualify a person to have a monument erected in his honor, I don't know what would.
Yet, in spite of all of this, Paul maintained that Christ should be the center of everything. No, Paul does not minimize or discount the work done by himself and others on their mission journeys, especially at Corinth, but he does point out that they are all merely servants -- table workers -- whom God used to bring about a harvest.
Applying those words to ourselves, paid or volunteer workers in Christ's church should not seek to be glorified for their accomplishments. In so doing you end up taking the honor away from the Head of the Church: Christ Jesus.
If you elevate your minister or church officials to a place of honor that belongs only to God, then you are in gross violation of the First Commandment which says, "You shall have no other gods."
Paul took the time to address, as well as warn, the Christians in Corinth about the issue of placing emphasis on the worker rather than on the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier. Indeed, he sternly reprimanded them for praising servants more than the Master.
It is a warning we would do well to heed. After all, we are the recipients of God's great grace as shown to us in Jesus' life, His suffering, and the cruel cross of Calvary. It is through His wonderful sacrifice we are saved, and it is to the Lord all glory is due.
THE PRAYER: Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word. Curb those who by deceit or sword would wrest the kingdom from Your Son and bring to naught all He has done. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Mr. Elias Thejoane. He has been a prison ministry volunteer for Lutheran Hour Ministries-South Africa since 2010. He has been married for 37 years to Alleta, and they have three children (two boys and a girl), along with six grandchildren. Thejoane worked as an administrator for various companies until his retirement in 2006. He serves the juvenile section at the Sasolburg Correctional Services Centre. Established in Johannesburg in 1961, LHM-South Africa employs emerging technologies in its innovative social media and text message ministries. It also uses LHM's Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), Equipping the Saints (ETS), and dramatic presentations to share the Gospel. Staff and volunteers regularly visit inmates at Johannesburg's prisons too.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries