Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-15
Crop development and home construction are both processes. You aren’t able to place a sweet corn seed in the ground and to instantly husk, boil, butter, salt, and eat a luscious ear of it. No, it takes weeks of development and the addition of heat and water at the right time. Construction, likewise, is not as simple as imagining a concept and being able to instantaneously move in. Instead, different contractors with different areas of expertise typically play key roles in seeing the end product become reality.
The apostle Paul used agriculture and construction metaphors for understanding the spiritual practices of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. What, then, are the takeaways for us as we consider how God might use us in contributing to the conversion and spiritual development of those in our world? Here are four thoughts:
- Be faithful…it is a process! Although conversion itself happens at a point in time, a person has often had repeated contact with believers and numerous interactions with biblical truth prior to that. Certainly, there are exceptions, but you and I should, by and large, commit to a process.
- Be cooperative…it is a team effort! Paul talked about planting while Apollos watered. He laid the foundation while others built upon it. Humbly acknowledge that God wants to use you AND others in seeing people come to faith and discipled as He builds His church. In fact, readily introduce people to other Christ followers in the hope that exactly that will happen.
- Be dependent…it is the Lord who brings results! Even though people contribute to the development of the harvest, it is ultimately God who makes things grow. It is no wonder that Paul described himself and other Christian laborers as “co-workers in God’s service” and those with whom they worked were “God’s field” and “God’s building.” Express your dependence on Him in prayer.
- Be accountable…your work will be examined! Paul described different types of construction materials in this passage. He also points out that our work in cooperating with Him in the building of His church will be tested by fire. This should cause us to examine things like faithfulness, methods, and motives. Reach out as those who will give an account.
Faithful, cooperative, dependent, and accountable…those thoughts should impact the way that we seek to win others to faith, assist them in growth, and integrate them into Christ’s church.