by Stephen F. Olford
"We are laborers together" (1 Cor. 3:9).
Thought: Here is the antidote to the overwhelming sense of loneliness in service which we experience from time to time! Partnership in service not only cures this sense of loneliness, but also curbs us when we become egotistical and boast about our bigness in service! Best of all, however, this sense of togetherness in service cheers us when the devil attempts to convince us of our uselessness in the work of God. In the context of 1 Corinthians 3:1-15, the apostle Paul speaks of:
1. The Oneness of the Workers: "Laborers together with God" (v. 9). The carnal members of the Corinthian church were seeking to eulogize and exalt one leader above another (1:12; 3:3-5), but Paul sharply reminds them that all workers are one in being nothing but the instruments of God (v. 7).
2. The Oneness of the Service: Paul writes, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (v. 6), and then adds, "Now he who plants and he who waters are one" (v. 8). There may be distinctions and differences in the aspects of service, but the task is ultimately one. We think incorrectly when we praise one man above another or honor one work above another.
3. The Oneness of the Master: The word "God" is emphatic in vv. 7, 9: "God…gives the increase" (v. 7); "you are God's field, you are God's building" (v. 9). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one in their redemptive work. If we would learn the secret of togetherness in service we must keep our eyes on Him alone. Only then shall we constitute a team in the work of the gospel.
Thrust: Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod;
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.