Building One Another

E. Stanley Ott


September 4, 2012

Dear Friend,

The Apostle Paul made a revealing assertion to the Christians of the ancient city of Corinth, ”For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” I Cor. 4:15*

The word guardians variously translated can mean tutors, instructors, teachers, and trainers. The original word referred to those who walked a child to school and kept an eye on the child. Such a person was not a parent but more like a babysitter. “Though you have ten thousand babysitters you only have one father, one mother in the faith.”

So Paul claims his unique role by urging his spiritual children to, “be imitators of me,” what all parents ask of their children. Also, like every parent he urges them to remember what he taught them, “of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere and in every church.” I Cor. 4:17

This leads to a number of profound questions!

Who is the person who had the most to do with shaping your heart for and understanding of the Christian faith? A Mom, a Dad, a grandparent, someone at church, a friend, or someone else?

For whom are you not merely a spiritual babysitter, but a mom or a dad? Are you having a Christ-forming influence in the life of another person (who may be a child or may be an adult)? 

Are your core convictions about our Lord and our Lord’s church clear enough that you consistently live them and can teach them regardless of where you are – everywhere and in every church?

Such questions lead to gratitude for the spiritual parents in our lives and challenge us to be spiritual parents in the lives of others.

With joy - E. Stanley Ott
Copyright 2012 E. Stanley Ott
*Scripture from the NRSV