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The cost of fatherhood

When our kids graduated from high school, we would notice an uptick in the number of parents of their friends who separate around that time.

It was as if, "Well, junior is now on his own, so our job is over ... time to move on separately..."

Here is Paul:

You are rich and we are poor! You are strong and we are weak! You are honorable. We, on the other hand, are fools. As a matter of fact, you live like kings! I wish you were really kings because then I'd get some benefit ...

Then Paul says this:

I'm not saying this to shame you. I'm saying this because I
fathered you.

Fascinating point he makes to the Corinthians -- widely regarded as one of the most dysfunctional New Testament churches to have received a letter (two letters) from the Apostle.

What was Paul's point?

It was not that the Corinthians should stop being strong; or give up their honor (Paul was probably referring to good positions some of these folks held in general society). Or even that thinking of themselves as "kings" was so awful.

Paul's point was simply that he had fathered them.

And for the cost of fathering them, he had to become weak, to become a fool, to become a spectacle not only before men but also before angels. For the cost of fathering them, he had to live a life, as it were, with a death sentence on it.

Not only is this true: Once a father, always a father.

This also is true: To produce spiritual fruit, a life has to be laid down, even to experience the dregs so that the offspring can experience the life.

And this is also true: The labor does not end -- there is no release to fatherhood after high school graduation, when the kids go on to success and honor. The labor continues.

And then Paul says: Imitate me.

We often think: If I were only a missionary like Paul, then I would really be fruitful.

No. To be fruitful, just pay the cost of fatherhood for those around you.


1 Corinthians 4.8-16: 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.


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