Perhaps you’ve heard the old saying: “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”
But pride and a continual need to bolster our own self-esteem simply gets in the way of that adage. If your self-worth is determined by whose side you are on, what you are doing with your life, how much you have accumulated, or anything else that has to do with YOU (that’s why they call it self-esteem), you will be in trouble spiritually.
Our worth, really, was determined by God two thousand years ago when Jesus died for us. God’s self-sacrifice, forever made my worth so great, that nothing I can do or gain will add anything to it.
The Corinthian Christians are not thinking this way. Their spirituality is anchored deeply in a worldly mindset that inevitably results in division and conflict.
Paul’s question: “What do you have that you did not receive?” is a sobering reminder that we are all charity cases, dependent solely on the grace of God. No one has the right to elevate himself above another.
Paul’s admonition: “Imitate me” (4:16) might seem to contradict this and can even sound pretentious, but frankly, it is the attitude all Christians should have. We should make it a point to live our lives that will present an example of Christ-like living. When in our own minds our self-worth is determined solely by the mercy of God, we will live humbly and dependently, an example to others worth imitating.