Power is not just a title or a position; it is a force. Obtaining power tends to do something to one’s state of mind. Over time, it will make one treat people differently. Often, given the way in which our culture works, our own hubris will corrupt the way in which we handle power and lead us to ruin. But, in the book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul talks about a different kind of power. A power that for all the world looks like weakness. But, in fact, is the very power on which this universe is built.
Few things in this world are as self-focused as the human ego. Every triumph and every slight has the potential to send us either into pride or despondency. Yet, in this passage from 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul shows us another way: a way where we forget ourselves to the point where we not only cease caring what others think, but where we even fail to care what we think of ourselves. Instead, we rest and rejoice in what God thinks of us in Christ.
One of the greatest victims of our success, especially here in the western world, is our relationships. Most of us are cash rich and relationship poor. What’s more, our relentless pursuit of success creates “walls of hostility” between various people groups. When we squabble to put ourselves first, like the church at Corinth, we destroy community. The solution: let Jesus lead us into a new community with different values and a different vision; a community united in him.
In our world, some of the greatest icons of success would come from various companies like Amazon and Nike, various sports teams like The New York Yankees and the New England Patriot, various designer labels and the like. Paul names the greatest icon of success that he can think of in 1 Corinthians 1: the cross. Strange. How can you be “killing it”, when you are yourself killed? By rising from the dead. That’s how.
We live in a world that worships success: success in business; physical success; artistic success; and the like. Everyone wants to be “killing it”; prevailing in whatever field they find themselves in. But what if “killing it” is killing us. What if there’s actually a different way to be human. A God ordained way. One that leads to life and life in abundance. The church at Corinth learned this. And, starting in 2019, so can we, as the community of The River.