The Christians of Corinth had a lot of spiritual growing to do. They had been born again, but they had not outgrown their spiritual infancy. They were immature believers who still behaved like selfish children. One evidence of their immaturity was that they were choosing up sides and following their favorite preachers (v.4) — when they should have been following Jesus.
Paul explained (v.5-9) that while preachers and other church leaders should certainly be respected, they are just servants of the only one who deserves our loyalty and our praise, the Lord Jesus. Pastors should think of themselves as “gospel farmers”. As farmers they work the fields of souls, planting gospel seeds, watering those seeds with encouragement, and reaping the harvest as people are saved. But no preacher can save a soul or forgive a sin or cause spiritual growth — only God can do that.
Pastors and preachers should also think of themselves as builders (v.10). A wise builder begins with a solid foundation, and then builds on that foundation with quality materials. A wise pastor first lays the foundation of a personal relationship with Jesus, then builds with the gold of the gospel, the silver of scriptural truth, and the jewels of holy living (v.12). That kind of ministry will last, standing the test of judgment.
The world may think that building your life on Jesus and the truth of God’s Word is foolish, but we know that it is truly wise to do so (v.18-21). We would be fools indeed if we rejected Jesus and lived according to our sin-tainted desires and urges. The very best kind of life a life that is built on Christ (v.23).