I Corintians 4, The Message:
What’s the point of all this comparing and competing?
Within a market economy competition reveals comparative advantages and leads to greater productivity. But the church is a comand and control economy. Within the exercise of our spiritual gifts there is only one way to know who should do what: listen to the Spirit.
Even Jesus did this. He had emptied Himself of His divine powers and said, “I only do what I see my Father in Heaven doing.” In this He set the example for how we could be just as effective in ministry as He was! He never thought, “Well, I can preach better than Peter, so I better not let him say anything,” or “I am much more loving than John, better keep him out of things, too. He’s likely to mess things up. I’ll handle this.”
No, He tore down the veil in the temple and made the Holy Spirit available to everyone.
So, we are not to compare ourselves with one another, because we are not trying to be better than one another at what we are doing. Instead, we are to listen to His Spirit and obey, even when we know that our talents lie elsewhere. I’m sure Phillip was not interested in long-distance track, but he was sent chariot-chasing. Eric Liddel was a chariot-chaser, yet he was set to preaching. It does not have to make sense to us. Not everything I direct my children to do makes sense to them at the time, and I often don’t have the time to explain it to them, yet I expect obedience, and it works out best for them when they do obey.
The church is a command and control economy. The world is not. Setting these two apart makes the contrast between the kingdoms greater, and demonstrates our peculairity and Christ’s glory.