“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
~ 1 Corinthians 4:5
Hi James and Ellen,
Are you hungry? Are your clothes nothing but rags? Are you without a home? How would you like to live in a house that has a thatched roof made of palm leaves, walls that are made of sticks and mud and a dirt floor? How would you like to live in a place where chickens, dogs and pigs take turns checking out what they can find under the table where you eat your meals? How would you like to live in a country where guys and gals are killed because they do not like the guy who is governing their country? During the years that your grandmaa and grandpaa were missionaries in Bolivia and in Guatemala, they saw hungry kids – kids whose stomachs stuck out from either being malnourished or from having intestinal parasites or from both, they saw kids whose clothes were dirty and patched and who were not wearing shoes, they saw kids whose homes were streets – where they slept on at night, where they often stole food in order to survive and where their only escape from their hopelessness was to sniff glue, they saw kids whose dads – instead of having their kids go to school, had their kids go early each morning out to a small plot of land to help them prepare the land for planting seeds, to help them take care of the growing plants and to help them harvest the crops and they saw kids living in houses that have thatched roofs, walls that are made of sticks and mud, dirt floors and where chickens, dogs and pigs wander around inside their houses looking for something to eat. Is there always food that you like in your house for you to eat? Do you always have clothes that fit you and which are not torn and patched? Are you able to sleep every night in a bed? Does your dad and/or ma make you help them with their work? Do you live in a house that has a lot of amenities – such as a computer, television, stove, beds, etc. or do you live in a house that does not have a computer, television, stove, and beds that are not made from tree limbs and hand cut slabs of tree trunks and . . . would you trade places with kids who are living in rural villages in Bolivia or in Guatemala – who do not begin to have all the comforts of life that you have?
There were guys who were going to the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth who thought that they had the right to judge other guys – guys like Paul, by letting these guys know that they had their act together better and that they knew more than what guys like Paul had and knew. When Paul wrote his first letter to the guys and gals who were in the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth – in 1 Corinthians 4, Paul wanted to make sure in this letter that he had scribed and couriered to the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth that he knew all about the arrogant guys who were going to the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth and that he was not at all happy with them because of their thinking that they were better than other guys. Paul wanted the guys and gals who knew him to see him as being a servant of Christ. Paul wanted the guys and gals who knew him to see him as having been entrusted with God’s secrets – secrets that God was allowing him to pass on to guys and gals who would listen to him. Paul wanted the guys and gals who knew him to see him as being continually faithful to God and to the call that God had given him. Paul did not want the guys and gals who knew him to see him as a guy who spent time judging other guys. Paul scribed in verse 5, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” Paul wanted the guys and gals who knew him to sense that it really was okay to imitate him. Paul did not have time for the egotistical guys who lived in Corinth and who were going to the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth. Paul did not have any problem at all dealing with the pride that some guys were showing – guys who lived in Corinth and who were going to the Christ-follow fellowship in Corinth, by using sarcasm, irony and even a ‘whip’ to get them to see how wrong that their thinking was. Paul sent a young guy – Timothy, to deliver this letter to the guys and gals in the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth. How do you think that Timothy felt having to have to deliver a letter – and maybe even having to read the letter, to guys who thought that they were better and wiser than the guy – Paul, who sent them the letter? Paul wrote this letter sometime during the two years that he spent in Ephesus. Your grandpaa does not know how long that it took 1950 years ago for a guy to get from Ephesus to Corinth. The only way to get to Corinth from Ephesus was to make the long trek around the Aegean Sea or to get on a ship that was crossing the Aegean Sea from Ephesus to Corinth. It would have taken a guy either way a couple of weeks – at least, to get from Ephesus to Corinth. Paul helped to initiate the Christ-follower fellowship in Corinth a number of years earlier. Even though he was now getting flack, Paul hoped to one day be able to return to Corinth.
How bad to you think that you have it? How good do you think that other kids have it? Do you complain to your dad and/or ma about what other kids have? Do you thank your dad and/or ma for all the things that you have? Do you feel blessed by God? How many kids who are living right now on planet Earth do you know who have a dad and a ma, granddads and grandmas, uncles and aunts and kid friends who are all Christ followers? The next time when a kid tells you that he or she is better than you, your grandpaa wants you to always remember that only God is the true judge of you – AND that there is no kid – or guy or gal, who is better than you and that you are not better than another kid – or guy or gal. Your grandpaa believes that the reason that God has him and you on planet Earth is because He wants your grandpaa – and you, to see the glory of His creation and to reflect His glory back to Him.
1 Corinthians 4 (402)