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July 7, 2024

Co-workers in God’s Service

Pastor KJ Kim

1 Corinthians 3: 1-9

In today’s passage, the faith community in Corinthians seems to have more than a single issue, just like every church does. They had divisions, conflicts, debates, and quarrels that threatened the community. Since Paul wrote his letter to the people in Corinthians, maybe divisions and quarrels have continued issues.

Like today’s passage, our problem may be that we have been seeking wisdom from the wrong sources—just like they said, “I belong to this person or that person.” So, Paul keeps reminding factional followers that “we are one, have a common purpose, and should be united in Christ by the Holy Spirit.”

For many of you here, you have been here a pretty long time—seeing a Pastor’s comings and goings. Some pastors may claim, “I am called to be the planter.” The other claim, “I am called to be the waterer.” But we know, and you know for sure, God only makes us grow.

When we think of “growing,” we often use the word “growing” with only “getting old or older,” which often connotes “not being able to do the things we used to do, being less capable, etc.” Think of a tree and their way of getting older is by getting new roots, new branches, new leaves, new blossoms and new fruits every year. Their getting older is about adding something “new.”

Today’s passage tells us that we should grow “new,” and we should grow “deeper, wider, and higher,’ just like a tree. And my invitation to pause, look back, and examine ourselves as a church is this: How about our aging process? How can we grow “old” so far?

We all know that today does not seem to be the best season for doing and being a church together. We all wish we could find the perfect church. But we always forget it is impossible because of us—a church is made of imperfect humans like you and me. We all know that every church has its own issues, conflicts, problems, or challenges. Yes, it sounds like a church.

However, like Paul, in today’s passage, I am convinced that God continues to make us grow—growing “new,” growing deeper, wider, and higher each and every day. So, as God’s tree-house,
this place can be a life-giving place where everyone can be welcomed, loved, nested, and cared for, no matter who and what. And this place can be more fertile where God’s people are pregnant with God’s dream and vision, God’s hope, God’s peace, and God’s joy.

Keep growing new, not just getting older, Keep growing deeper, wider, and higher. And keep standing here as a beloved and faithful community as we all strive to find answers to what it means to be a church as a life-giving and fertile place. May we remember we all are called to be co-workers in building the kingdom of God on Earth, here in Stephenville, Texas, and over there, in Nashville, TN.

Thanks be to God.

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