I Cor 4:1 "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."
The thing that I think is cool about Paul is that he was not all full of himself. Frankly, he could have been. Here is a guy who was raised in the strongest Jewish tradition. He had authority in the community. Just because Jesus reached down and rescued him would not change his history. He was now a believer who had the same strong background. Beyond that, he was a guy who was hand picked by God. I mean, who else do we know in the New Testament that God knocked off his horse and personally said that he was a "chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel."? Acts 9:15 Who else do we know who personally spent one on one time with Jesus in the "third heaven"? 2 Cor 12:2 Who else do we know who wrote the great bulk of the New Testament? I mean this is pretty heady stuff. If anyone had a claim to fame and could assert his position in the church it was Paul. Yet here is Paul saying: "I am only a servant of Jesus and steward of God's mysteries."
I love the word for servant. It actually means: "underrower" or "subordinate rower". It was these guys who got into the very bottom of the ship, below everyone else, in the dark, in the damp, in the sweat. It was not a place of recognition and glory. Instead it was the low of the lows. Yet these guys were necessary. Without them the ship just sat there. Paul outlines this for us later in the chapter when he says the apostles were "condemned to death, made a spectacle, fools, weak, dishonored, hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, beaten, homeless, reviled, defamed, filth, offscouring." Nasty stuff. With Paul's star making history this is what he came to.
And steward. This word means manager. It was the guy who kind of oversaw what was going on in the master's house. Did he get credit? Was he the owner? Did he get to keep all of the stuff that he saw? No. He just watched over it and made sure that it was used properly and not wasted.
That was Paul. A servant, an underrower of Christ and a manager of the mysteries, the secret things of God. (That is actually pretty cool when you think of it.)
Fast forward 2000 years. What does this make us? What does this make me? I certainly don't have Paul's credentials. I did not get knocked off my horse. I have not written anything of significance much less parts of the Bible. If he was a servant and steward, I am at the most the same. Sometimes we get all wrapped up in titles. I'm an attorney. Big deal. I'm an elder at my church. Whoopie! Really, I am just a guy who needs to strive to be an underrower for Christ. I need to serve Him and, just like was written yesterday, make sure all the glory goes to Him.
This was the attitude of the guys back in Jesus' day. Paul said it. John the Baptist said it: "He must increase, and I must decrease." Just underrowers. No titles. No positions. No prestige.