Day 159: II Chronicles 26-28, Psalm 129, I Corinthians 4

By Bishop Paul Butler

Humility before the Lord who made us and calls us into his service can lead to remarkable exploits, growth and success as the early years of Uzziah’s reign reveal. Arrogance, however, leads people, notably leaders, into some very dangerous places. Uzziah’s undoing is his pride; so too with Ahaz. We can try and mess with God, his holiness and the glory of his name, and though in his patience he offers us opportunities to turn around and change, in the end we cannot mess with him. In the end those who dishonour God will find him being the one who cuts their cord.

Paul had been warned from the outset by the Lord that he would suffer much in his service as an apostle. Whether he had anticipated quite so much anguish coming from within the church is not clear. But he certainly discovered that apostolic leadership was not always appreciated or welcomed. The Corinthians had come to faith through his preaching, yet they turned towards others rather than Paul’s leadership. He sternly warns them not about turning against him but against turning away from the truth of the gospel of grace. He always saw his own position from a place of humility; he was only an apostle through the grace of God.

Leadership has responsibilities; it is costly. Most of us are not rulers of nations or apostolic leaders yet we all have God given responsibilities. The question for us is whether or not we are being faithful to our own calling.

What responsibility has God given me? Am I being faithful to it?
Who is your ‘father in Christ’? Take time to thank God for her/him.

Lord help me to live humbly in the light of the day when all will be revealed by you. Help me to be a faithful steward of all that you have given me. Amen.

Bishop Paul Butler is Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham in England