ARE WE LEADING OR STEALING?
1 Corinthians 4:14-17
1Co 4:14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to offer constructive counsel to you as my dear children.
1Co 4:15 Because although you have countless guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Because in Christ Jesus through the gospel I fathered you.
1Co 4:16 I encourage you, since this is true, become imitators of me.
1Co 4:17 That is the reason that I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, just as everywhere in every church I am teaching.
limits to leadership
In the first century Greek economic system, a father would hire a slave to manage the schooling and rearing of his son, until the son became of age. Then the father would train his son in his own trade, either himself, or with the help of his other sons. Paul utilizes this analogy to talk about his missionary purpose for sending Timothy to Corinth. The elders who are leading the fellowships at Corinth are like the guardian slaves. Their responsibility is to mature the congregations in the faith. But Timothy has the responsibility to train them in the skills and character so that they do what Paul is doing.
But, in Corinth, the plan went wrong. The elders had started bad-mouthing Paul and the other founding missionaries, in an attempt to gain a following for themselves. They had transgressed the limits of their leadership authority.
LORD, may we lead others, to you – not steal them for ourselves.