1 Corinthians 1:26-31
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
People have always been obsessed with status, both now and in ancient times. Much of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians struggles with their own obsession with status. Paul describes several divisions in the church:
Spiritually “strong” vs Spiritually “weak:” Some thought that their spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, made them better than other Christians. 1 Corinthians 12
Rich vs Poor: When they had the Lord’s Supper, the rich often went first, eating and drinking everything so some couldn’t get anything. 1 Corinthians 11
Noble vs Low: While most of the church would have been poor and lowly, some were highborn. Gaius, one of the leaders, probably had a house large enough to hold the whole congregation for worship, perhaps 100 people. 1 Corinthians 1
Paul tells them that their calling was the same despite these differences. God didn’t call the rich differently than he called the poor. He didn’t call the strong differently than the weak or the noble than the low. They were all called by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
There is no difference, then, because God doesn’t care about the things about which we care. He doesn’t see wealth or status. He just sees our sin. He calls all people to him, because all are in the same state: We need a savior. No human being should ever be pleased with their own qualities. The good we do or the status we have is nothing before God.
What’s true for Corinth is also true for us. Most of us don’t think about the rich having more access to Jesus than the poor, like the Corinthians might have. We do, however, get pleased with our own things. We think that our actions might count for something.
We could say:
I volunteer. That must count for something.
I read the Bible. That must count for something.
I give to the church. That must count for something.
I’ve been attending here for 40 years. That must count for something.
But it doesn’t. Only Jesus matters.