“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.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9
Rebekah and I love hydrangea plants. Last year – disappointingly – we had a total of one bloom in our garden. This year we’re well on the way to a magnificent display featuring ten healthy plants and literally hundreds of bursts of stunning color.
Fact is, there are so many variables at play it’s virtually impossible to predict how a garden is going to look. All we can do is faithfully prepare the soil, plant, prune, fertilize, water, and pray.
When we lived in south-central Florida, dealing with sub-tropical conditions, extreme heat, the amazing ability of weeds to grow out of control almost instantly, the pervasiveness of sandy soil, ravenous pests, the occasional devastating drought, and more, Rebekah and I would occasionally throw our hands in the air and say, “We’re giving the garden back to God.”
Theologically, that is a sound position to take. Not giving up on our efforts, our hard work, our vision, our planting, our tending, or our praying… but giving up on our ownership.
Our garden belongs to God, and with that acknowledgment must come trust, and with that trust we see much more of what is possible, because we are partners with the Creator!
WFPC: It’s the same with the ministry here at Wake Forest Presbyterian. “This is God’s church,” Rebekah often says, “not mine.” All we can do is to offer ourselves and our gifts to God, to faithfully prepare the soil, to plant, serve, prune, fertilize, water, and pray – all the while investing the hard work, the loving, the vision, the tending, the surrender….
“Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth.”
We plow the fields, and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By God’s almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love. (Matthias Claudius, 1782)