“We have become the scum of the earth”.
1 Cor 4:13 NIV
In the modern era many attitudes prevail regarding Christian pastors, priests and ministers. Some regard them as one amongst a list of selected professional people. Others see them as “good chappies who do good”. Others see them as parasites, lazy and utterly contemptible. Most people in the church regard them as leaders, teachers, friends and guides. A survey in the United States among various categories of workers found them to be the happiest occupation.
No doubt in Paul’s day the Christian missionaries were regarded with suspicion. Because they sought o convert people from other faiths they posed a threat to the leaders of other religions. Their constant traipsing from place to place meant that they never had a chance to build up any credibility outside the church communities. Paul was humble. His obedience to Christ’s call had taken him from a position of prominence in the Jewish faith and had turned him into an outlaw to many who had been relations and friends. He clearly did not have an exaggerated sense of his own importance.
William Carey was a great missionary. “He translated at least parts of the Bible into no fewer than thirty four Indian languages. He began life as a cobbler. When he came to India he was regarded with dislike and contempt. Once at a dinner party a snob, with the idea of humiliating him, said in a tone that everyone could hear, ‘I suppose, Mr Carey that you once worked as a shoe-maker’. ‘No, your lordship’, answered Carey, ‘not a shoe- maker, only a cobbler’. He did not even claim to make shoes – only to mend them” (W. Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians, p 135).
All Christians should be humble.
Lord, help me to be a humble follower of Jesus.