God Gives the Increase
Today's Reading: 1 Kings 8-9; Luke 21:1-19
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:7-8
As Christians, we have different gifts that produce different fruit for God's work. We can accept this in Scripture but we question why some Christians are more successful in ministry than others, such as when one's church is so much larger than another. We tend to look at the "successful person" and try to pattern ourselves to be like that person, instead of keeping our focus on the Lord. Paul's point emphasizes the fact that ultimately God is the reason for any of our success.
Paul is making a piercing statement that should penetrate each of us right into the depths of our heart. The focus of ministry needs to be about God—period. Without God, there is no increase, no success, and no value to our work. Without God, there would be no gifts, skills, or fruits. Without God, there would be no us. Because of God, one person is given certain talents while someone else is given the complement to those gifts, both designed by God to fulfill His purpose only (1 Corinthians 12:11). In these verses, Paul is planting while Apollos is watering, both chosen by God to perform His service.
In Matthew 15:13 Jesus says, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted." Unless God is our Farmer, nothing that we plant will ever bear fruit. Most of the time, however, we forge ahead with the planting and then ask God to bless our work with good fruit. Jesus says that the Father will not allow those plants to remain; He will remove them completely.
How much time do we waste in trying to complete our plans, meet our standards, control our progress, and make our deadlines? How do you personally plant and water specific areas of your life? Is God your Farmer? If you are feeling frustrated, fatigued, and frazzled, comparing yourself to others, then you are missing what God has for you. You must realize that He has given you the talents and skills to plant and water, but all for His purposes and to His glory. Without Him, there will be no growth and no success.