Not Boasting in Another’s Work, but Not Letting it Go to Waste Either
We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence.
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Paul didn’t boast beyond what he knew was a worthy boast. Very few, if any of us can give much credit to ourselves for the way that we came to know Christ. It was a college roomate, a co-worker, a foreign traveler, or a mom or dad that went to the trouble to share the Gospel with us at just the right time.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, knew that they had learned from a lot of different teachers and had heard a ton of teaching from other people besides himself. He knew he couldn’t take the credit for the work that Christ was doing in their lives, but notice what he did say.
He looks forward to the day that they grow up more in their faith so that they, along with Paul, can preach the Gospel to others. Paul doesn’t want them to grow mature in their faith just so they can wear a badge that says “Mature Christian.” He wants them to mature so that they’ll do what any mature species of creature does: reproduces more.
The goal of Christian maturity isn’t so that we are better at controlling ourselves (our sins are forgiven) or so we can get better at judging others (don’t judge or you’ll be judged by the same measure) instead, the goal of Christian maturity is for us to be able to teach others and grow them up into that same maturity.
This weekend, we are adding a service at West. Do you know how mature of a Christian you have to be to bring someone to church? Andrew had only a single conversation before he brought PETER TO JESUS! Come on! You’d think the guy that brought Peter to Jesus would really have a lot of prep and education and training, right? Nope.
What about the woman at the well in John 4? How many people do you think she could bring to Jesus if she was on her 5th husband and was really just co-habitating with the fifth guy? SHE BROUGHT OUT THE WHOLE CITY!
Let us not boast in all of the work the Church has done for generations in our community. At the same time, let’s not let it go to waste and be afraid to talk about Jesus as we go about our days. We won’t have a boast, but we’ll have a bigger Kingdom, and that’s better anyway.