1 Corinthians 4:15-17...
For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly. (WEB)
In today's Bible reading, Paul tells us that while we may have many teachers in our life, we will not have many spiritual fathers. In today's passage, Pauls say that he himself became a spiritual father to the Corinthian church through the preaching of the good news to them.
So what do you think Paul was referring to when he said he became a father to the entire Corinthian church? Do you think that he developed an intimate one on one relationship with each person in the congregation in a similar way to a parent-child relationship? I kind of think... not.
I just think he loved them in the same way that he was loved by God. And since the source of all love is our Heavenly Father, then Paul would have loved them with the Father's love. After all, that is how it worked for Jesus when He said in John 15:9... Even as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love. (WEB)
Since God's love is not just limited to a masculine expression of love, Paul was able to express a tender motherly affection to the churches that he ministered to as well. We can see one of these examples in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 where Paul writes... 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 Even so, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the Good News of God only, but also our own souls, because you had become very dear to us. (WEB)
I think the point of today's Bible reading is simply this. Many people can teach. Fewer people actually reflect the Father in their relationships. Paul knew he was so loved by the Godhead that he was able to pass on the love he received to all he met. My prayer today is that each one of us would receive so much of God's love that it would naturally just flow out to every one we meet.
1 John 4:19
We love him, because he first loved us. (WEB)