9.26.12 "Co-workers in God's Service"

Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and open your ears to hear what He has for you today through the reading! The Scripture reading for today is  1 Corinthians 3: 1-9

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit(A) but as people who are still worldly(B)—mere infants(C) in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food,(D) for you were not yet ready for it.(E) Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling(F) among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,”(G) are you not mere human beings?  What, after all, is Apollos?(H) And what is Paul? Only servants,(I) through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed,(J) Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.(K) For we are co-workers in God’s service;(L) you are God’s field,(M) God’s building.(N)

Paul is really coming down hard on the Corinthians in this passage.  He’s saying they are not mature... still babies in regards to their faith because they aren’t acting like people led by the Spirit of God.  They aren’t bearing fruit from the Spirit... they are quarreling, they are jealous and they have false conceptions of the ministry that Paul and Apollos are doing.  The Corinthians were putting more emphasis on Paul and Apollos than they should have been and were choosing to follow and worship the men rather than God....and that ticked Paul off.    Paul is reminding them that God is the One to be worshipped and he and Apollos are just workers FOR God - and each serve a different purpose in God’s work.

Have you ever thought more highly of someone than you should because of a unique gifting or anointing that this person has... like teaching, preaching, or performing?   I know I have.  The temptation is to look at that person as having the ability to do more for the kingdom that you could ever do... and then be overly drawn to this person... and even jealous of them at the same time!   We can miss God in the midst of this kind of perception because we are so focused on the gift itself that we miss the God who provided that gift in the first place.   And we are so vulnerable to thinking that the gifts we have would never make a difference in expanding God’s Kingdom or feeling that we have to make something happen ourselves in order to expand the Kingdom.  I believe Paul was speaking to this mindset when he said, “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

I have been in both camps before.  I’ve desired to be like someone who has a tremendous gift to teach or sing or lead worship or preach... rather than desiring to be like Jesus!  And I’ve also felt like I had a responsibility to bring someone to faith rather than recognizing that God is the only one that can do that.  It takes a tremendous amount of pressure off when I trust that God has given me the exact abilities and gifts that He determined I would have for the furthering of His Kingdom.  I can be myself.   I don’t have to be a great teacher or preacher to make a difference for His cause because the gifts I have impact in ways that other gifts don’t.   And I don’t have to “make” someone believe in Jesus.  Only God has the power to give faith - He just asks me to throw the seed - to be His co-worker.  Do I have a responsibility to be a light in the world, to be like Jesus the best I can, and to be a safe person for others to come to in times of need or pain or anxiety?  Yes...  I believe that’s part of cultivating the soil that the seed falls on and helps a person to feel more receptive to Jesus - but I’m not responsible for the results - and that’s very freeing.  Thank goodness that as a co-worker with Christ, I can look forward to God using me for His Kingdom’s cause and I can pray for a person’s salvation, but I can leave the “saving” to God!

Thank you Father, that you are a Saving God!  That you desire all to come to know you!  And thank you for using me.  I may feel like I have small gifts to offer in the advancement of your Kingdom, but all things are possible with you.  If I’m surrendered and focused on you and others... not my “ableness” to do something or make something happen - you can accomplish much through me.  I love you -

What are your thoughts about today’s scripture?  Did anything really speak to you today?   Let me know!