Learning to Imitate Messiah’s Emissary
1So let each one think of us in this way—as Messiah’s helpers and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2In this case, moreover, what is required of stewards is to be found trustworthy.
3But to me it matters very little to be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this. It is the Lord who judges me.
5Therefore do not judge anything before the time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and also make clear the motives of the hearts. Then the praise for each one will come from God.
6Now I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so you might learn from us not to go beyond what is written. Then none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against the other.
7For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8Already you are full! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish you were kings, so we also might be kings with you!
9For it seems to me that God has put us, the emissaries, on display last of all—like men sentenced to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.
10We are fools for Messiah’s sake, but you are wise in Messiah! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored!
11To this very hour we are both hungry and thirsty, dressed in rags and mistreated and homeless.
12We toil, working with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure.
13When we are slandered, we speak kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the dregs of all things—even to this moment.
14I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to warn you as my dearly loved children.
15For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Messiah, yet you do not have many fathers. For in Messiah Yeshua, I became your father through the Good News.
16I urge you therefore—be imitators of me.
17For this reason I have sent you Timothy, my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Messiah, just as I teach everywhere in every community.
18Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you.
19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing; and I will find out not the talk of those who are puffed up, but their power.
20For the kingdom of God does not consist of talk but of power.
21What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?