By Rev Clifford Chisha
Key Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 3:4-8: The greatest tests of a leaders’ maturity and suitability for leadership are praise and criticism.
If you want to have a glimpse into a leaders maturity levels, check how they handle praise and criticism.
Paul, when addressing the divisions at the church in Corinth, made very powerful statements that are worth learning from.
“For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:4 (NIV)
Allow me to suggest that Paul was addressing two ‘factions’ which had surfaced in the church at Corinth.
One group claimed to have been following Paul and another, Apollos.
It’s like one group exalted or praised Paul and the other, Apollos.
At least there were some people who were for Paul, who probably praised him.
In spite of having some people praising or exalting him, Paul did not get excited.
Instead he got concerned.
This great leader did not vent his anger at those who claimed to follow Apollos.
Some leaders would have exalted themselves above Apollos and sided with those that claimed to follow them.
Paul was a mature leader.
He provided very good counsel to both factions.
Let us look at the following statements.
“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Just servants through whom you believed [in Christ], even as the Lord appointed to each his task.” 1Corinthians 3:5 (Amplified Bible)
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth.” 1Corinthians 3:6 (Amplified Bible)
“So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth.” 1Corinthians 3:7 (Amplified Bible)
The above statements points people to God and not to Paul or Apollos.
Paul puts it clear that Apollos and him were just servants of God.
Usually, when we leaders are praised, pride creeps in and when others are exalted above us, jealous and bitterness fill our inside.
It wasn’t so with Apostle Paul.
Paul did pass the test of maturity and suitability for leadership.
If Paul was an immature leader, he would have caused more division.
He would probably have uttered statements out of anger which could have disturbed those that were for Apollos.
When a leader is tested, maturity levels are exposed.
Each one of us needs to do a good checkup of our maturity levels.
It’s time to check our reaction to praise and to criticism.