“I planted the seed, 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. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. – 1Co 3:6-9 NIV
Stand in the middle of a lush orchard with me in your mind. Enjoy the fresh air and touch the new leaves. Imagine this land before these trees were full of fruit. Surely these trees didn’t simply appear perfectly spaced, in a straight line, positioned in pollinating pairs, with properly proportioned irrigation. We have the luxury of reaching out to harvest this miracle, but someone else did back-breaking work to clear the land, prepare the dirt, and season after season, bring the water.
The same is true with bringing people to the love of God. I can share my story and make an irrefutable case for Christ, but the harvest cannot be forced. I can plant and water, but only God makes things grow.
One time, I had the amazing experience of leading an 8-year-old boy to Christ in vacation Bible school. I’ll never forget Christian Wolfson inviting Jesus into his heart. I stood proudly at his baptism among his parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors and friends. It was thrilling to be part of the harvest and celebrate with the laborers who prepared the dirt, watered daily and prayed against the deadly pestilence.
We don’t always get to be part of the harvest. God’s word tells us that He marked out our appointed times in history and the boundaries of our lands (Act 17:26) and He prepared good works in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). So, look around. Where can you plant? What can you water?
What is your role today?
- Surveyor –Scout and prepare new land.
- Planter – Plant seeds of truth.
- Pollinator – Encourage others in the field.
- Waterer – Disciple others in their faith.
- Exterminator – Extract weeds and intercede against the enemy.
- Harvester – Lead someone through the prayer of salvation.
Be You: It’s irrational to think we can manufacture fruit on our own. Playing Master Gardener does not end well, like biting into an apple that’s rotting in the core.
Be Consistent: There are seasons of life where we put in the work and do not reap a harvest.
Being consistent season after season is the labor of faith.
Ask: The planting, watering and picking don’t happen in one day. Remember that today is by God’s design and there is good work right before you. Ask the Master Gardner what your role is today and leave the harvest to Him.
Enjoy: Find joy in today, knowing that one day we will stand in the middle of the lush orchard in heaven and The Master Gardener will show us how, even our most fruitless days, were interconnected to produce a great harvest.
p.s. passing on a story from Sacred Story’s library can be a great way to plant and water a seed