Do you sometimes get so caught up in doing God’s work that you start considering yourself wise and better than others? Could be your great sermons which lead to the conversion of tens of precious souls or your gift of singing that draws thousands to the church.
Could it be your service to the poor, the sick, the orphans and other disadvantaged groups in the society or your selfless leadership in the church or society?
Listen to what Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says about the correct attitude towards our work;
“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.” 1 Cor 3:7-8
According to Paul, we are instruments used by God to achieve His purpose on earth and our ministry is limited to ‘planting’ and ‘watering’ the seeds. We work together with God in promoting the purposes of His glory; it is an agency relationship in the ordinary operations of His providence.
He warns us against the sin of pride brought about by taking credit for what the Holy Spirit has accomplished. This is particularly the case when our words, our actions, or our writings lead others to salvation. It is absolutely critical to give credit to God for one’s salvation since He is the only one who can ‘make things grow’.
And this is not limited to the salvation of souls or spiritual help we may give to others. In my view, the above words by Paul are not limited to pastors, priests, evangelists, and other ministers of the word of God.
God’s work involves many players with diverse talents from one and the same spirit. Some are gifted in serving in the youth ministry while others serve in the worship team, guest welcome teams, widows/widowers ministry, homeless ministry and many other areas.
Furthermore, some have been called to serve in the secular world. Politicians, business leaders in the corporate world, volunteers in not-for-profit organizations, service to our families and in many other areas.
Whatever your gift and calling, when you do God’s will and yield to him in obedience, God blesses your labour. When this happens, it is important to acknowledge that it is His mighty hand that gives us the abilities to exercise the gifts and to succeed in our endeavours.
In any case, using Paul’s analogy in the text above, we can say that God has the power to make the seeds grow even if they were not planted or watered by human beings. But he does not do it, preferring to have the agency of the farmer as co-workers in God’s service.
To God, there are no superstars, only team members in his husbandry and building.