When we think about life, chances are we think of situations we’ve been in– conversations, activities, good days, bad days—a combination of all the details we believe make us who we are. Lodged in the layers of our experiences are people whose lives have impacted ours.

In fact, without them, where would we be? Would we be less wise? Would we have taken another career? Would the development of our gifts been curtailed? Would we have decided on something monumentally wrong (or something monumentally right)?

There are people whom God designates to speak into our lives at different times and seasons. Some are influencers for years and years of our lives. Others are influencers for an hour or two, and yet their impact is so great we don’t forget them at all.

In the Church of Corinth, Paul writes something worth taking a second look. There were people sowing faith into the lives of the believers, but the believers were taking sides.  “I follow Apollos,” was one side; another was “I follow Paul,” and who knows what other leader was tumbling into the picture?

Paul answered this by writing, “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 has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building” 1 Corinthians 3:5-8.

There are different leaders whom God raises up to speak into our lives, “co-workers,” as Paul would say. Therefore, there is no reason for jealousy, no reason for taking sides, no reason, too, for any comparison of gifts and anointing among leaders and believers because each one is different.

It certainly helps to remember that IT IS GOD who makes a person grow. No matter what the gifts of a leader are, it is still God who convicts, changes, and transforms the person. Also, leaders are very human. Doors of destiny in a person’s life do not start and end with a leader. God can use a leader, but the doors of a person’s destiny open because God Himself holds the doors open. The work of God is still God’s to do.

As we go through our lives being influenced and influencing others, let us remember that we are co-workers in God’s field. Let’s stand united, building each other up in love, faith, and hope. Let us honor our leaders. As we, too, influence the people whom God designates to us, may we be able to set a good example. The summon of our lives, whether our influence is large or small, must be: “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

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Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.