1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.…
St. Paul accepted the full responsibility of his office. God has nowhere placed on the human heart such a high trust as the ministry of the gospel. We do not think lightly of the responsibilities of the statesman, the warrior, the philanthropist, the teacher; but the ambassador of the Cross stands in the Saviour's place, and speaks in His name. On his office depends the salvation of mankind. The minister must feel the responsibility of his office, and so must those to whom he ministers. The congregation that demands topics and forms to gratify taste or emotion cannot be sensible of the fact that God speaks, and not man. Micaiah said, "As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak." The man who helps sinners to build on a false foundation is a source of greater danger than the company of evildoers.
I. LET US DO WHAT WE CAN.
1. It is possible to fancy what mighty things we would do had we the opportunity. Some thoughts of this nature must have crossed the mind of the man who received only one talent. Exchange these grated probabilities for actual possibilities. God has given us to do what we can, and expects us to do it.
2. "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much," &c. Look into every department of life, and see that he who has faithfully filled the humbler situation, has both fitted himself for, and been promoted to a higher. Joseph the slave became the premier of Egypt. The captive Hebrew youths were made presidents of Chaldea. The history of those men is not more marvellous than "From Log Cabin to White House," or from the shoemaker's bench to the mission-field of India. Seeing that the Church of Christ is burdened with duties, we long to see the day when every Christian shall be an active worker.
II. LET US DO EVERY WORK IN ITS OWN TIME.
1. To-morrow will not have a moment to spare for duties that are neglected to-day. Duty says — "Now or never." Nature, the lives of men of mark, and our own experience are decisive as to this. "Procrastination is the thief of time." To put off duty to a more convenient season is done with impunity. "Boast not thyself of to-morrow," &c. Every hour has its duty, and every duty its pleasure.
2. To further enforce diligence in this matter, observe that our very safety in time to come is secured by fidelity to present trust. Negligence is a preparation for temptation (2 Peter 1:10). The path of duty is the path of safety.
III. LET US DO OVER WORK IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT. It is impossible to be faithful considering the difficulties in the way, without willingness and love. To be forced to work for Jesus by fear is to destroy the greatest condition of success.
IV. LET OUR WORK BE DONE UNDER A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY. The work is not ours. We do not supply the materials. We are all responsible to God. The day of account is coming. Shall we meet it with joy, or with grief?
Parallel VersesKJV: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.