(From Paul) “This is how one should regard us-as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God….For (though) you have countless guides in Christ you do not have many fathers; for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. I urge you then: Be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy to remind you my ways in Christ (as I teach them everywhere in every church).” (1 Cor 4:1 and 15-17)
Perspectives: Paul is asking Corinth to optimize their perspective about himself. What is the difference between “guides” and fathers? Answer: Investment in our lives.
For years I have encountered many “guides in Christ.” These folks may have good, strong insight in the ways of our Lord; lots of Bible to communicate; teachers up the wazoo. These folks have what looks like solid guidance, even holy/godly guidance.
But: what kind of “fathers in Christ” have I had? From my perspective not too many. Maybe I am shortsighted that way, I don’t know.
What is the difference between a “guide” and a “father?” I have a number of men that I am grateful that God brought into my path. I learned a lot; these guys taught and modeled stuff that helped me be the fellow I am today, helped give definition to my character. But my Dad: no other guy like him. Fathers are given the responsibility for the sons and daughters-there is an interest given by God. Another point: Children are heirs of the fathers-Guides cannot bequeath an inheritance. Fathers have an investment for the future generations. Fathers not only teach but they are making future men to raise their own children.
What good are guides, then? Guides can provide a perspective of the Ways and Works of God that are specific to issues and to the Word of God. The downside is that guides can be a bit myopic, perhaps only focused on the issue of the day and moving as the Spirit leads. Just like going to school guides can provide separate courses of education-fathers can help in integrating all the “courses” into a life.
Why am I writing about this? We have a Father whom is perfect in all of His ways with us. His objective is to make us into the image of His Son, having already adopted us and made us heirs in Christ. One of the streams of hope found in the Gospel. Set up and assert: Follow me as I follow Christ.
On this day of Pentecost there is a deposit of God from the Gospel for all who believe: It is God Himself the Holy Spirit. “Draw near….and He will give you rest.” Drawing near is an effort that we must engage in daily. Note that it IS effort for the sin that we have been set free from is constantly there, drawing us, enticing us, tempting us to fall away from the Living God. Guides and Fathers are gifts of grace-but some are wolves. Pray for discernment of the difference.
Here is another gift of Grace: the Community of Believers in the Local Church. Embrace them, pray for each other, encourage each other daily that we do not fall into temptation…
Lord God, Father: Finding my Hope in You is a daily exercise. There are times that I think that my Faith expressed once should be enough, more than once and I must be weak in faith. I know through Your Word that is not so. Every day I see Your Mercies. Every day I am a grateful servant of the Most High. Every day I must make effort, yes, fight to keep my eye on You, to have hearing ears and soft heart to be moldable by the Potter’s hands. Help me be settled and not anxious. Help me be patient and calm. I want to walk in Your Ways all the days of my life. AMEN.