Previously Paul started dealing with the division that had come into the Corinthian church because of people trying to promote one leader over another. Paul now returns to this:
For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (vv. 4-9)
Things takes a measure of maturity to understand; "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." Paul had an excellent understanding of the Church, of how everything fits together and is dependent on each other. Paul was an apostle and it was his calling to lay foundations. Although Paul had some pastoring skills he was not called to pastor. Apollos on the other hand had a different calling.
If you recall from Acts Apollos was from Alexandria and had made his way to Ephesus to preach. It was there he encountered Priscilla and Aquila. This couple took Apollos in and discipled him until he had a fuller revelation of Jesus. Apollos was a man of great intelligence and went to Corinth to debate the philosophers. If you remember Paul said he refrained from such a thing and only spoke of the cross and allowed God to speak through signs and miracles. Paul had one purpose and Apollos another and for Paul both were equally important.
Those who are not pastors, prophets, evangelists, apostles and teachers need to consider this:
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
No matter their calling, those who work among us in the five-fold ministries all have the same purpose. They have the responsibility for the training of God's people. Allow me to remind you of Ephesians 4 again:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. vv. 11-13
I only wanted to use one part of this but it is difficult for me to divide it because it fits together like a puzzle, giving us a complete picture. But note the specific role of the five-fold: to prepare God's people for works of service. My purpose along with the others is training. So whether we lay the foundation or build upon it we have the same purpose. There is only one purpose. You need all of us.
I realize that everyone takes a great deal of pride in their pastor because they love their pastor. However, you need more than your pastor. This is the reason so many pastors bring in evangelists, prohets, and teachers. This is like the circulation of the blood in the body. Without such ciculation we grow stagnant spiritually. You cannot hold one of these servant's as greater than another because they all have one purpose and we need them all.
Just a foot note to this: these five-fold ministries are ministries. They are not the only ministries and they are not the only calling in the Church. Later we will read:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
The Body is made up of many parts and you are one of them. We need you to function in that place. The five-hold have one purpose but the gifts of the Spirit also play a vital role. They bring life and vibrance to the Body:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. v.7
So, for the common good, take your place.