I’m continuing my series through First Corinthians. In my last post, we saw that Paul warned against being politically attached to people and personalities. Instead, we are to be seeking to please the Lord.
Now Paul gives his reasoning for this.
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.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
According to this passage, the goal should be growth. That means both personal growth for the believer and corporate growth for the church. They are intertwined; you can’t have one without the other.
Also, multiple ministries are needed for growth. Just one is not enough, no matter how much you like that minister.
As the Senior Pastor of a local church, I was fully aware of this truth. I would frequently invite guest speakers who I knew had different giftings than my own. I wanted our church to get all the things needed for growth.
Of course, there were always those who complained about certain ones.
“I’m not partial to his ministry. I may stay home that week.”
That’s one of the problems in the church. On the farm, the garden can’t pick and choose who does the work. It’s obvious that people will love the ones that water more than the ones that identify and pull up the weeds.
All of the ministry gifts are needed if we’re to experience God’s best. The ones who refuse to sit under certain types of ministries will suffer for it. Their growth may be stunted…or nonexistent.
On the other side of the coin, each one does his or her job, but we can’t make people grow. That part of the equation belongs to God. That’s the same thing that Jesus taught His disciples in a parable.
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
That might be one of the hardest things to learn as a minister of the Gospel. Nothing I do will bring about the growth of that seed, once it has been planted. From then on it’s out of my control. After the planting it’s time to wait – and that can be the hardest part.
Sometimes we want to force them to produce fruit. We try to convince and coerce. That’s usually when we start to push them further away. We need to learn to plant, then step back and let God provide the increase.
The Word of God, by its very nature, begins to grow below the surface. It can’t be stopped, but neither can it be hurried along. It goes at the pace God has set for it. One thing is certain; it will produce the harvest that God intended it to bring forth.
We all have our part to play in the Kingdom of God. Some of us plant the seed and some water it. None of us can make it grow, that’s God’s department.
Question: Have you ever caused bigger problems by trying to force the Word of God to grow in someone’s life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi