By Ashley Moore, Crosswalk.com
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6, ESV
This time of year is the harvest season. The cotton that grows beside our home is being gathered and transported. We routinely get delayed behind tractors as the farmers head to the fields to collect the ripened crops. My family is not operating at the level of the farmers we observe in amazement, but we always try to plant a few things each season. We always remind our children to pray as we tend to the soil, cover the seeds, and pull the weeds. We divide the tasks amongst each member of the family, but it is God who brings the growth.
Gardening and farming were metaphors used often in the Bible to teach the reader about God’s good design for His church. In our key passage, Paul is exhorting the church at Corinth not to quarrel about which leaders' teachings they follow but rather to remember that God’s people are merely servants. Each servant is responsible for his tasks, and what that person contributes is important to the body because the assignments build upon one another. But it's not the servants who bring the growth. Good things grow because God causes the growth.
I’m wondering what the words growth and harvest bring up for you.
Maybe you are realizing there isn’t much good growth happening in your life currently.
Or perhaps you are caught up comparing your task in the harvest to someone else’s and feeling as if you don’t quite measure up.
Or maybe you have done your part, and you are awaiting the growth that only God can deliver.
If you are struggling with one of the first two options may I ask you what I’ve sensed the Holy Spirit asking me in these seasons?
Are you abiding in Christ?
John 15:5 says I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
When we spend time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in community with other believers who encourage and build us up, we will bear fruit. We will be too focused on Christ to be distracted and sidelined by envy. But if we do get swept up in comparison, the Lord can guide us and purify our hearts of sin that entangles us. And other Christ followers will remind us and sharpen us to look more like Christ. As we abide with Christ and grow together, we bear much fruit.
As for those of us waiting for the good growth God provides, my encouragement is to pray.
Matthew 9:38 instructs us to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Know that our waiting is never wasted, and God uses it to renew our strength and increase our faith in His provision, even when growth doesn’t look how we expect or hope (Isaiah 40:31; Proverbs 3:5-6).
Harvest time serves as a reminder of the good things God causes to grow in and through His people. We have the honor and privilege of co-laboring with Christ and our brothers and sisters and witnessing an abundant harvest. No matter what stage of the growth process we find ourselves in, we can trust that the master farmer and original gardener is always causing good things to grow here.
We praise you for allowing us to participate in the great harvest of your growing eternal family. We thank you for our small but important parts in the growing process. Lord, help us be faithful to plant, water, or plow where you call us to do so. Jesus, forgive us when we get stagnant or sidelined by comparison. We pray for more laborers and unity among your children. Help us get to the fields and link arms together with you, Jesus. We praise you in advance for the good things you cause to grow in and around us, Lord. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/lovelyday12
Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn't writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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