Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-11
5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. (NLT)
Many of us can look back with gratitude to the various people who have been instrumental in our faith journey. Different people played different parts. It may be that one particular person was more significant, but even then their significance was likely linked to some other person’s previous contribution. None of us does God’s good work in isolation from others.
Paul reminds us that we must not become overly attached to one individual as if they were all that mattered in our Christian life. By all means respect others, but never idolise them. Our faith, as Paul reminds us, rests not on any one human being but on God working things out through those human beings. Jesus is the true foundation of our faith. Everyone else is just helping build on that foundation.
That also means we, who minister in God’s name, can never assume we are the most important instruments. Or to mistakenly think it all depends on us. We do our bit, but when we are gone and perhaps forgotten, God’s work goes on. He is delighted to use us in his purposes, but he is not dependent on any one of us.
Be thankful for those who play their part, but remember it is only one part of a much larger story.