1:21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
23 Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.
I'm taller than my mom, taller than my dad, and taller than my older brother. Height doesn't mean older, or superior, or smarter, or any such thing. Yet we revere height. Tall people are more likely to be hired, promoted, get leadership positions etc... Remember king Saul? He was desirable for the position because he was tall and handsome.
We actually discriminate and give preferential treatment based on many superficial factors. Another one is longevity. Those who were first are more likely to be chosen for promotion, seen as potential leaders, etc...
My children started baseball this week. I was able to go to my son's first practice on Monday evening. It's a new season, a new team, a new coach etc... so I just stood close to the fence and observed. I heard one parent commenting on the height of some of the players. It turned out the most gifted kid was also close to the shortest and the tallest kid had a really rough time. It could be that his coordination hasn't caught up to his height or maybe baseball just isn't his area of greatest giftedness.
Why I am rambling about height and discrimination? Paul stood tall in Corinth. He wasn't a person who could slip in the back row and leave again unnoticed. Was he physically tall? We have no idea. What we do know is that by virtue of the fact he came to Corinth to preach, and for many was their first contact or connection with Jesus, he was highly esteemed. Too highly esteemed by some. He stood too "tall". He had "too much" seniority.
God stepped in. He instructed Paul not to return. He inspired Paul to remind them by letter that in Christ no one stands taller. In Jesus no one has seniority. God established faith in their hearts just as he established faith in Peter's heart, and Paul's heart, and Apollos' heart. God is the author of our faith. There no rank in Him. Paul was not higher.
He went on to say that the seal of their faith, the evidence that God was their Father, and working in their lives was His Spirit in their hearts. He also said that God prevented him from coming so that they would learn that God is their Shepherd and they are to live by faith in Him. They are all equal in Christ and the same God who turned Paul into a world traveling evangelist is just as much their God and just as eager to develop their gifts and their unique ministries.
Some (because of our human tendency to reverence height or good looks or charm or longevity/seniority) followed Peter and some Paul and some Apollos but they needed to learn to follow Jesus.
Good parents are always aware of the fact that their ultimate task is to prepare their children for Independence. Good Christian leaders are to do the same. Help new believers establish their faith in God and become connected directly with Him.