And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
— 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NKJV
These verses are very special to me. After I (finally) accepted God’s call to ministry I sensed the Spirit’s emphasis on these words for me. I was to follow Paul’s example to “…not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” What does this mean?
The Roman Empire stretched from Europe through Palestine and into North Africa. Their scholars and theologians considered Christianity to be a religion for fools. Paul answered that criticism with these words:“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Paul was happy to be considered a fool, to be imprisoned, to be whipped for the greater glory of being allowed the privilege of sharing the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ. The power of the gospel is in the fact of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Apart from this truth Christianity is nothing more that a social club intent on doing good deeds. Within this truth, however, is the grace of right-standing under the Lordship of the Father. We can become puffed up with our knowledge of making the church run well and grow in numbers, but Paul let God worry about the numbers. He was concerned more about the spiritual growth of those who professed Jesus as Lord.
Our Father, it is so very easy to lose sight of our calling. We can easily get in your way by “playing the game” called church. Forgive us for our short-sightedness. Help us to remember that Your grace and the presence of Your Spirit are our strength. Enable us, we pray, to be faithful witnesses for Your glory. Amen.
Rev. David C. Collins, Re-tired