September 5, 2022 — God Causes the Growth

“As I mentioned the other day,” Stan commented one morning, “one of my neighbors is quite a gardener.  [Note: See the posting for September 1, 2022, “Weeds will Choke out Produce.”] She has a big vegetable garden in the back of her house. The other day she gave me a box of the most amazing tomatoes out of her garden.  Big and red, with the most wonderful flavor.”

“Does she have some particular secret to growing them?”

“I asked her that,” Stan replied. “She said she uses some vegetable food she buys at the Big Box Wholesale Club.  It has ‘Miracle’ somewhere in its name.”

“Wow,” I said, “miracle in a box from the Big Box!”

“Yeah,” Stan replied, “she puts on the plant food, gives the plants the water, and God provides the sunlight they need for growth.”

“Last night,” he continued, “as I was enjoying a BLT sandwich with one of her tomatoes on it, I was thinking about my neighbor and what she said about growing the tomatoes. The apostle Paul came to mind.”

“The apostle Paul?” I said. “You kidding? What does he have to do with growing tomatoes?”

“Well,” Stan said, “Paul wasn’t writing about tomatoes, but he did write about water and growth.”

“In what way?”

“What Paul was writing about in his first letter to the church in Corinth has to do with spiritual growth.  It seems that he was addressing a question about who does what regarding spiritual growth and who is to be given the credit.”

“Who does what, and who gets the credit,” I repeated. “How so?”

“Paul was writing about spiritual seeds that he had planted in the Corinthian church.,” Stan said. “He acknowledged that the seeds he had planted were watered by another person named Apollos whose watering furthered the spiritual growth, but that it was God who was to be given full credit for the actual spiritual growth.”

“Oh, I see,” I replied. “Paul planted some spiritual seeds, Apollos came along and watered those seeds, but neither Paul nor Apollos was to claim any credit because it was God who caused the growth. Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan said, “and it’s to be the same today. We are all to plant seeds for spiritual growth by sharing the truth of the gospel, and we are all to water those seeds as the opportunity arises, regardless of who planted the seeds, in order to help with spiritual growth. And we are never to be concerned about who gets credit for such growth, knowing that it is God who causes the growth.”

“Plant and water,” I said, “and then watch as God causes the growth, being thankful for being allowed to be a part of what He’s doing.”

“I think you got it, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile.


Bible versus to consider:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for those you brought into my life who planted the seeds of the truth of the gospel. Thank you, too, for those who watered those seeds so I eventually accepted your free and gracious provision of life with you eternally when it is time. Thank you for those who continue to water so I grow in an ever-increasing knowledge of you. I confess that too often I do not plant seeds for you and I do not water seeds that have been planted by me or by others. Please forgive me for that, and please help me follow every step of your lead in planting and watering exactly as you intend, always giving all credit to you for whatever growth you cause in another person. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Planting and watering. What do those things look like to you? Have people planted and watered the truth for you so you now know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If you do not yet have the assurance of salvation and redemption, what is standing in the way? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with planting and watering so others will also have the assurance of salvation and redemption? If you sense the need for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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