Text: 1 Corinthians 3:1-17
The Works and Roles Of A Pastor
Feed The Sheep
The word “pastor” originally means shepherd, the one who has the care of flocks and herds. He is someone who feeds and pasture the flocks.
As we already have discussed, pastoring is not an easy task. The primary goal of a pastor is to impart God’s word, that is to feed the flock. However in the passage, we can see here that Paul is pointing out that the spiritual food that he is giving to the Corinthian Church is only milk. He pointed out that many of them were worldly (other translations used the word “carnal”).
According to Paul, jealousy and quarreling within the church is a form of immaturity. What are they quarelling about? They are quarelling about who is their discipler. They have their own favorite workers. Some follow Paul, some Apollos, while others say they follow Cephas (1 Cor. 1:12). And probably they were trying to compare their teachers (pastors).
The truth is, such arguments are useless and only promotes division inside the church. It is a form of carnality, a form of worldliness and a sign of immaturity. Why? It is because they are now out of focus. Their church leaders like Apollos, Cephas, and Paul are there to serve, to feed the sheep. This is their primary task and all of them comes from the same source. Their teachers have the same spirit, the same teachings, and the same doctrines.
Apostles are to impart God’s message to the sheep. They are to share what God is telling them in accordance to the Scripture. Similarly in our time, there is no need to compare the past from the present for pastors do the same thing. That is to feed the sheep.
Taking Care of The Plants
Another comparison that Paul made is related to agriculture, plants. Here, we see that different agriculturists have different roles. One plants the seed, another water the plants, and another cultivate it.
Here, the members is being referred to as the “plants” in God’s field. Pastor’s role is to take care of the plants giving what it needs. Pastors are like agriculturists who examines the plant needs. If it lacks some water, they water it. If it lacks some soil nutrients, they put fertilizers on it. If it is infested with pests, they put pesticides on the plants. And if it needs to grow faster, they cultivate the soil.
Pastors and workers have only one purpose (v.8) and each is rewarded according to his own labor. Therefore, there is no use of comparing workers. After all, it is the Lord our God who makes allow the plants grow. He only sent laborers to take care of the plants.
Another lesson that we can learn from here is that God’s workers work for God and not for men. God’s workers does not desire for the plants to wilt. Knowing God’s command and having faith that it was God who sent them in the field, they always desire to make the plants healthy. In contrast to carnality of men, many people in our days now wants their pastor to be ousted, wants their pastors to be shamed. Brethrens, pastors were sent to take care of the plants, and not to burn it.
Build The Building
The third comparison that Paul made is about the building. Each worker takes part in the creation of God’s building, of God’s church. Here we can see that since Paul is their Church planter, by God’s grace he laid the foundation as an expert builder (v.10). And another builder has started to take his part in building to what Paul has laid. Each builder should be careful how he builds. This means that his work will later on be seen.
Therefore, the workers of the church desires much to build the church with quality. Even in beautifying his work by using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be judged in proper time. Here we see that each worker takes a big responsibility to how he builds.
His work will be revealed through fire. There is a warning here that we must take heed as workers. It says here: “if it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
Protect The Church
The fourth comparison that Paul made here is that God’s worker should protect the Church. Though the passage does not talk about protecting, but we can see here that verses 16-17 talks about a warning against the destroyer of God’s temple.
Here we see that God’s temple is us. This passage does not refer to a singular man or a singular body. Instead, this refers to the collective body, plural, composed of individuals.
As a church, we stand as God’s temple and the Spirit of God lives in us (v.16). It is therefore proper for the worker build up the church protecting it against the destroyers.
The context here is all about divisions. It talks about quarelling within the local church and doing factions. Paul is referring here against those people who tries to tear the church by quarelling and building factions.
It says here, “God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” Brethrens, this only implies that we should not desecrate God’s temple by building controversies and by factions.
Today, we can see four works of a pastor. To feed the sheep, take care of the plants, build the building, and protect the temple of God.