In the previous week’s bulletin we discussed growing potatoes. I may have made the rather harsh statement that you don’t know how to grow one, but I assure you it was a general statement and not based on any firsthand knowledge of your personal horticultural skills. It may sound ridiculous, but you don’t really have to know HOW to grow a potato to grow a potato. What you DO need to know is what YOU can do to HELP a potato grow. That’s where your personal responsibility comes to relevance.
You see, you can’t grow a potato; you can only HELP a potato grow. I mean really, only God has the power to make things grow. I know that, you know that; so why am I making such a big deal about it? Because God did, that’s why. You see, we have taken God’s instruction not to destroy the harvest of potatoes and turned it into us having no part in growing potatoes. What God really ONLY wanted us to realize is that He (through His word) is the ONLY one that can GROW potatoes, He didn’t want us to stop planting the seed.
In 1 Corinthians 3:7 the Holy Spirit says, “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” Contextually this statement is not saying that we are nothing, it is saying that God is everything. More to the point is that we can plant and water all we want, but without God there will be no increase. God is the epicenter. God is the purpose for our being; not preachers like Paul and Apollos. But while Paul and Apollos may not have been the PURPOSE for our being, they still were a REASON for our being Christians because of the influence through their work. Just like you and I aren’t the reason a potato grows, we can be a reason it grows if through our influence we aid in its growth through planting and watering.
You see, in verse 7 God wants us to know who we are “of”. We are “of” God, not “of” Paul or Apollos, or preachers, or teachers, or parents, or friends, or family members, or neighbors, or strangers, or anyone else. We are “of” God. That was the emphasis. Paul and Apollos don’t grow potatoes, they just fulfilled their personal responsibility in helping potatoes TO grow.
Furthermore, we must take note that only two sentences after vs. 7 God states plainly, “For we (servants through whom Christian Corinthians believed v.5) are God’s fellow workers; you (those who believed) are God’s field, God’s building” So how was the building built up; by God working WITH His workers, not by God working alone. Therefore, we not only help the potatoes grow, we also help grow the potatoes, and that’s the first step.
Let’s reevaluate just to make sure we understand some things before proceeding. We can’t grow potatoes, but do have personal responsibility to first; help grow potatoes and second; to help the potatoes grow. How do we help grow potatoes?
First, we find some seed. It will be hard to help grow potatoes without seeds. Second, we have to make sure we get the right seeds though. We can’t help grow potatoes with corn, or pomegranate, or apple seeds, and we can’t help grow Christians with “another gospel (seed)” (Gal. 1:6-9). Next, we need to plant the seed in soil. I’d advise like Jesus did, and just be a Sower that walks along the road and scatters it everywhere (Matthew 13:1-23). That’s how you help grow potatoes. Now how do we help potatoes grow? We be “fellow workers” of God and plant, and water, and care. (1 Corinthians 3:6&9). But hey, God can’t make you be a fellow worker. You see, that’s YOUR personal responsibility.