April 16th Follow-up

Sunday Follow-up
1 Corinthians 4 – “How do we want to be judged?”

If you have ever been misunderstood, criticized, or judged by other believers, then you are in good company with the Apostle Paul. He too was criticized and judged by other believers including some in Corinth. He stated in 1 Cor. 4:3 (NIV) – “I care very little if I am judged by you”. Why did Paul say this? Because the only judgment that mattered to him was the one he would face at the Bema Seat of Christ.

One day every believer will stand at the Bema Seat of Jesus where we will be judged. We won’t be judged for our sins, but we will be judged on how we served Jesus. This judgment will determine our eternal rewards. The question that each of us as followers of Jesus needs to consider is – “How do we want to be judged?”

Paul said in verse 2 (ESV) – “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful”. Stewards are servants who have been entrusted with certain things. As followers of Jesus, we have been entrusted with the gospel and discipleship, spiritual gifts, and our calling. One of the things we will be judged on is our faithfulness to the things Jesus entrusted to us. Will we be judged as having been faithful?

Another area I believe we will be judged on as servants of Jesus is – were we encouragers or criticizers. Those in Corinth who were criticizing and judging Paul were not walking in humility. Nor did they know what it was like to walk in Paul’s shoes. It doesn’t take a lot of work to find the flaws, shortcomings, or failures of others. Because we all have them. What does take work is trying to find ways to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ despite those things. That is what an encourager does.

Pastors may be spiritual leaders, but they are far from perfect. Without walking in their shoes, it is hard to understand the challenges they face. It’s hard to understand what it is like to be responsible for feeding the sheep the word of God every week. The next time your pastor gets up to share God’s word with you, pray for them. Just because they don’t seem nervous, doesn’t mean they aren’t to some degree.

Look back on your life as a follower of Jesus. Have you been more of an encourager or a criticizer? Remember, you can be critical of other people without having said anything to them. When we are being critical of someone around other believers, do we sound like encouragers or criticizers?

I pray that you will join me in seeking to be the best servants we can be. Seek to be faithful to what Jesus has entrusted to you. The next time you are tempted to be critical or judgmental toward another believer, seek to find a way to build them up whether they are present or not.
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