As the previous devotional writers have stated over this last week, one of the main purposes of this letter from Paul to the Corinthian church was to point out the weaknesses and divisions that had erupted in that new church. In today’s reading, I was struck by two things and how I can relate to these points as a parent.
First is the statement “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” I think that many of us who are parents need reassurance that we are doing a good job. But, there is no standard, no job description. So, instead we compare notes with other parents and sometimes we silently (or perhaps sometimes not so silently) pat ourselves on the back for doing what we believe is a better job than the parent with whom the comparison is made. This is particularly true with a new mother talking with mothers of older children. It strikes me how, under the excuse of sharing wisdom, mothers can sound so pompous to new mothers.
Second, is the behavior of Paul himself in the words throughout 1 Corinthians. Even though he was likely frustrated and even angry with the new Christians in Corinth, he remains calm and restrained yet firm. As a parent, there have been so many times I have regretted not acting this way to my children and thinking that I cannot take back my anger and frustration. Those moments are lost forever.
Frankly, I’m not sure that any parent has the right to think of themselves as truly wise. Certainly, based upon these instructions from Paul, whether a parent or not, we should not get wrapped up in the wisdom of this world as it is “foolishness in God’s sight.” Parents in particular need to model to their children the type of person Paul is asking the Corinthians to be – humble servants of God.