Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honoured, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment. I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.1 Corinthians 4:9-14
Did you see the contrasts?
We look like fools // you claim to be so wise
We are weak // you are so powerful
we are ridiculed // You are honoured – notice this one is reversed.
Notice too that Paul’s comments on the Corinthians “strengths” are tongue in cheek. “You claim to be so wise” – not “you are wise”
Do you think his comments “you are so powerful” and “you are honoured” are meant sincerely or are these comments filled with irony or sarcasm?
Paul leaves out the “you equivalent” in all that follows:
we go hungry and thirsty / inference – you aren’t
we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm / inference – you do
We are often beaten and have no home / inference – you don’t experience such things
We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living / inference – You don’t ??
We bless those who curse us. / inference – you curse and judge??
We are patient with those who abuse us / inference – You aren’t patient and aren’t abused.
We appeal gently when evil things are said about us – inference / You say the evil things
We are treated like the world’s garbage / inference – you consider yourself as reigning like kings
After the reversal of order in 1 Cor 4:10 with the last example Paul doesn’t state the Corinthians comparison any longer. Why is that? Because no comparison exists on the following examples? He still clearly uses the “we” until verse 13. So is there a Corinthian equivalent or not? You decide. I think he is deliberately not stating it in the verses that follow to get them thinking about their own equivalent which is why he reversed the order in stating “You are honoured, but we are ridiculed”
When they receive more “brick bats than bouquets” pastors can easily feel like they are treated like trash. It is so much easier for us to negative than to be positive. It is part of our fallen nature to be quick to spot the error or the negative than give praise for something good. Think about that in regard to yourself. Are you more prone to criticise rather praise? If you are then change it.
Let the beauty of what you LOVE be what you DO.Sidney Mohede
We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.Ben Sweetland
The furnace of praise and the crucible applause (Pro 27:21). Are we being purified by fire, or enflamed with pride?Rick Warren