March 16: It Will Seem Simple in Retrospect

Numbers 17:1–18:32; 1 Corinthians 1:1–31; Psalm 18:1–12

We’re all faced with difficult tasks. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was forced to confront their spiritual problems, which were slowly destroying God’s work among them. Paul was thankful for them (1 Cor 1:4–8), but he was also called to a high purpose as an apostle. His calling meant saying what people didn’t want to hear (1 Cor 1:1).

There were divisions among the Corinthians that were going to rip their fledgling church apart, and Paul implored them to make some difficult changes: “Now I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that … there not be divisions among you, and that you be made complete in the same mind and with the same purpose. For … there are quarrels among you” (1 Cor 1:10–11). And here’s where something amazing happens that we often overlook. Paul, a confident man and a former Law-abiding Pharisee, could have stated why he was right and moved on, but he does something else:

“Each of you is saying, ‘I am with Paul,’ and ‘I am with Apollos,’ and ‘I am with Cephas,’ and ‘I am with Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give thanks that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that you were baptized in my name” (1 Cor 1:12–15). Paul sticks it to them, and he reminds them that Christ deserves all the credit.

We all have moments like this, where we have the opportunity to take credit for someone else’s work—or even worse, for Jesus’ work. Paul had the strength and character that we should all desire.

How are you currently taking credit for others’ people work or for Jesus’?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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