I have been studying 1 Corinthians and a phrase in chapter four has stuck out to me – Let a man regard us in the manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
I have been thinking a lot about that phrase – servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
In this verse, the Apostle Paul, is specifically talking about ministers (pastors). The Corinthians had been wrongly comparing their teachers to each other. The Apostle Paul addresses this ungodly comparison in chapter three. Essentially, Paul writes that if people have a proper understanding of what a minister of God is called to do then there is no reason to compare.
So, if this passage is about ministers, what does it have to do with being a mom/believer? I think that as we raise our children, there is a lot that we can learn from the example of a minister of the Lord. Paul writes later in 1 Corinthians 11, “Be imitators of me just as I also am of Christ.” We are to follow in Paul’s example as he sought to follow the Lord. As women, we will never be ministers up in front of a church. But we are ministers of the Gospel to our children.
Servants of Christ
First, the phrase “servants of Christ.” The word that Paul uses here for servants means “under rowers.” In Bible times, under rowers were the most menial slaves on a galley ship. It was a despised position. Pastor John MacArthur comments on this, “They had the hardest labor, the cruelest punishment, and the least appreciation.” That is how the Apostle Paul viewed himself – as an under rower, a menial slave.
If we view ourselves as under rowers or slaves of Christ, this changes radically changes how we serve. As we minister to our husbands, children, and the church, there is no task too lowly for us. No matter how many times our children wake us up in the middle of the night or how many times we read the same book or say the same thing, we serve them because we are servants of Christ.
This is not to discourage you about how hard it is to be a mom. But it is to tell you that there is a greater purpose to changing diapers and mopping the floors. The purpose is that we are serving the Lord ultimately and that our reward is a heavenly one.
We do not serve because our husbands or children are worthy, but because Christ is worthy and He has called us be His servants.
Stewards of the Mysteries of God
The next part of the phrase is “stewards of the mysteries of God.” In ancient times, a steward was someone who entrusted with managing the home or estate of his master. It speaks of great responsibility, faithfulness, resourcefulness, and trust. It was an important position.
The “mysteries of God” refers to divine revelation that was previously hidden – essentially, the Bible.
Therefore, a steward of the mysteries of God is someone who is responsible to dispense the truths of God’s Word. They are called to faithfully teach, minister, and apply the word of God.
Much like a pastor ministers the word of God to his flock, a mom is responsible to minister the word of God to her little flock. She is called to teach, train, instruct, and apply Scripture to her children. She is a gatekeeper of truth to her children – letting in truth and keeping out ungodly influences. We have a great responsibility to manage the training of our kids. God has given us this important calling to reveal His mysteries to our children. It gives a greater purpose to those hundreds of conversations we have with our children about right and wrong, good and bad. It is not just teaching them good behavior so that they reflect well on us. It is teaching them the Good News so that they can reflect their Savior well.
What that Looks Like
What does that look like? What would that look like if, when we woke up in the morning, we thought, “Today I am going to be a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God.”
It would look like moms who joyfully serve our families even when it is hard because we are motivated by Jesus. Moms who faithfully teach their children and apply the word of God to their lives. Moms who make it a priority to know God’s Word so that they can accurately teach their children.
It would look like wives who help our husbands and gently remind them of what it says in the Bible.
And even if you are not a mom, it would look like women in the church who see their role as one to serve and to help others know what God’s Word says.
We have both a despised position and an important one. Even the most lowly work we do has an important role because of what Christ has done. We are servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Further Reading: The Fishbowl of Motherhood
My Favorite Podcast on Motherhood: Risen Motherhood