Spring is coming. Today was warm, sunny, and even smalled like spring. I find it amazing that I have come across the words and thought during this emerging spring season of rebirth and growth. I am currently reading the book “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller (honestly the main reason I started reading it was because the movie is coming out soon, but turns out the book is quite good.)
Here is a quote from the chapter I read recently. This quote is the opening paragraph of a chapter entitle “Change: New Starts at Ancient Faith”.
“There is a time when every person who encounters Jesus, who believe Jesus is the Son of God, decides that they will spend their life following Him. Some people, the the Apostle Paul, make this decision the minute they meet Him, the minute they become a Christian. Others, like the Apostle Peter, endure years of half-hearted commitment and spiritual confusion before leaping in with all their passion. Still others may enjoy some benefits of God’s love and grace without entering into the true joy of marriage with their maker.”
I think Don nails it on the head here. When I look at myself and my personal faith journey I realize that commitment takes time. It is hard to commit to something the moment you learn about it. Let alone something as abstract and crazy as the gospel. This is something that is important to keep in mind as we live out our lives, growing ourselves and allowing God to speak through us.
1 Corinthians 3:6-9 is a great example of God’s partnership with us.
First some context, before we can understand Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, we must know a few things about Paul’s relationship with the church community in Corinth. Paul first travels to the city of Corinth in 51 CE, ministers to the people there and founds a church. Paul then leaves, and a fellow Follower of Christ, named Apollos, visits the church community in Corinth. Paul then receives word, that the people in the church in Corinth have become divided about who’s teachings to follow, Paul’s or Apollos’s. Paul of course is frustrated that the church of Corinth hasn’t fully understood that God is the one to be worshiped, it is because of God that both Paul and Apollos live, and it is for God that both Paul and Apollos live. Paul writes the following in verses 6-9 of Chapter 3:
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Read those verses a couple times. And put yourself in the shoes of Paul or Apollos.
This is absolutely amazing! I feel so many emotions when reading and thinking about this. I am relieved that all I have to do is plant and water, it is God’s job to “give growth”. But then I am acutely aware of the fact that God needs me to plant and water in order for him to give growth. Then I understand the words of Paul in Philippians 2:12, “…work… with fear and trembling”. The idea that God is working through us, because “we are God’s servants, working together” is awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, and scary all at the same time.
If we are willing to “spend [our] life following him… and [enter] into the true joy of marriage with [our] maker” we can call ourselves servants of God! On top of that we have the assurance that God is working through us! It is not our job to play God, we simple have to “plant and water”! Praise God! How amazing is that!?!?!