“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 3:6-7)
The Apostle Paul understood the process of conversion.
A seed needs to germinate and take root in the soil before it can grow into a healthy plant. Largely hidden, the seed planter trusts that the natural elements of soil and water are producing the intended results. Yet, the watering does not stop. A seed needs constant nourishment of life-giving water to continue the process of germination.
The seed planting of God’s Word seems to work in the same way. Seeds are planted in the soil of human hearts. Sometimes the soil is hard-packed from life and the hot, dry sun of unbelief causes the seed to bounce off or die quickly. Other times the soil is rocky or covered with weeds causing the outward appearances of disinterest. Jesus tells us not to pay attention to the soil, but plant the seeds anyways. He has plenty of seeds available and the fields are ready.
A faithful servant like the Apostle Paul takes God at His Word. He plants the seeds trusting that the Holy Spirit is at work. A servant of Christ trusts there are other faithful servants that are watering the seed with the salt and light of His presence within them. This not only includes the model of good behavior, but also continuing to extend the hand of love, respect, and encouragement. Paul needed Apollos. And God needs you.
“God has chosen to limit himself to his human messengers as his agents in driving his Word out into the world. He will take care of converting people and filling them with his Spirit. But he loves to use human messengers for his divine message.” (Mark Jeske, timeofgrace.org)
Even though God is solely responsible for creating faith, he mysteriously uses His servants as His agents to be a part of the process. Notice there is a blessing associated with being involved in the process of conversion.
“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:8-9)
Our human nature automatically thinks of earthly rewards as a means to compensate for hard work. Christ reminds everyone in the gospels that a servant’s main pursuit in this life on earth is to garner heavenly rewards, not earthly one. By participating in the process of planting or watering seeds, a soul receives the blessings of joy, peace, and contentment. A servant of Christ experiences the presence of Christ by sharing the presence of His Word (Christ) with others. This heavenly exercise causes a servant’s faith and trust to grow even stronger than before. Paul’s exhortation to “work out our salvation” inspires souls to use long-dormant spiritual muscles prepared for such work.
Test me on this. To borrow from C.S. Lewis, you will be “surprised by joy.”Similar posts: