It seems some people in the church of Corinth wanted to follow Paul and others found him lacking and wanted to follow Apollos. Paul weighs in, but does not really defend himself. He shrugs off both praise and criticism and encourages them to follow Christ.
Why? Because the foundation of our faith is none other than Jesus Christ. Paul had a role, as did Apollos. That role was to build upon the foundation that is Jesus.
Paul admonishes all followers of Jesus to choose the perspective that we are all called to build upon that foundation. Paul was not so concerned about how he was being judged by people. How he might be compared with Apollos. He was concerned about how he would be judged by Jesus in “the Day” of judgement. The Day when all the works of believers are judged, to see what rewards will be given.
Paul asks the believers in Corinth to shift their perspective from worrying about what human “tribe” to belong to, and start focusing on how they are building. In the process, he exhorts us as well.
If, through active obedience, we build with materials that last, God rewards us with the gifts of His Kingdom.
Adopting this perspective, Paul advocates placing everything we do into an eternal perspective. We can listen to others to gain insight and wisdom, but at the end of “the Day”, the only opinion that will really matter will be that of Jesus Christ, the true foundation upon which we are building.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:11-14