Reading: 1st Corinthians 3:1-9
Verse 6: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”
Paul addresses the church in Corinth as “worldly” people. In them he still sees jealousy and quarreling. He asks, “Are you not acting like mere humans?” In the same way that Jesus was calling his followers to more in the Sermon on the Mount, so too is Paul challenging the Corinthian church to rise above the petty struggles of the world. Caught up in these worldly cares, the church is divided. Christian love and care and fellowship are hard to find or experience in this church at this moment.
Voicing a humility that is currently lacking in Corinth, Paul reminds them that he and Apollos are “Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task.” Pointing up to the power of God, he continues, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Yes, he and Apollos and others have humbly served. But God alone sprouted and grew their faith. God alone.
This perspective is important for the church to understand and to live out. It remains as important today as it was in Paul’s time. Yes, all have been blessed with gifts from God and we are all expected to use these gifts to build up the church and the kingdom of God. But the gifts are not inherently ours. They are from God. And it is God alone who does the work of healing or transformation or salvation. Yes, we play a role. We are only “servants.” Like Paul we too know that we must rely on God alone to change lives, including our own. As Paul concludes, “We are God’s fellow workers.” Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, you alone have the power to save, to redeem, to restore, to bring new life. I am powerless to bring change or to make anything grow. Yet I know you call me to service. So I ask that you would use me today as your fellow worker. Put me to your work. Fill me with guidance from the Holy Spirit so that you may be made known. Amen.