“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)
One of the annual events for our family, as well as many others across the country, is planting a vegetable garden. Living in the suburbs offers a challenge on the size of the garden but a square-foot garden works out nicely.
The idea behind a square-foot garden is to use a raised bed, bring in a mixture of good soil, and divide it up into square feet so the vegetable plants are closer together but not too close to get into each other’s way. It is also easily accessible to reach in and prune or harvest, when the time is right, without interfering with the growth.
The Bible is full of references to agriculture that we can draw from to help us in our relationship with God. Let us look together at one found in 1 Corinthians 3. Apparently, Paul was the one who communicated the message when many of these Corinthians came to faith in Christ. He left and a man named Apollos appropriately taught them to grow in their faith. Like many of us do today, rather than focusing our relationship on God, we can attach ourselves to a spiritual leader either through our own church or one popular in the media. Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth to address this issue.
“For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field…” (verses 4-9)
How may we apply this today?
First, God often chooses to use other men and women in our lives to bring us to faith in Him and to help us grow. This has been true throughout history and certainly for most of those reading this, it has also been true.
Second, just like in gardening today, I cannot take credit for actually producing the harvest. There is no doubt that God is the One who did it. I may take some satisfaction in being a part of the process but that is as far as I can go.
Third, the word for “servant” above is from the Greek word “diakonos” which means “one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master.” In other words, just like Paul and Apollos, we are servants of God and have the opportunity through our relationships to also serve others by helping them grow closer to Christ.
Have you been growing in your relationship with God? If so, this is from God and He wants to give you the opportunity and privilege to help someone else flourish in Him! How? It may be through kindness, a special word, or a structured time in prayer or bible study. Whatever it is, ask God to show you how you can help someone grow today. Then take no credit for yourself, but give the glory to God alone and experience His joy!
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.