He must increase, I must decrease. John 3:30
Well, as I began my study, I started reading through 1 Corinthians for no apparant reason at the time. Then I got to Chapter 3 and started reading Paul's humble look into his own ministry....and I got slapped with the Word.
That ever happen to anybody else? You're just innocently reading your Bible, and all of a sudden God slaps you with a conviction so hard, it makes your head spin. I had to reread this many times, praying that God would let this lesson sink in. We can all learn from it, I believe.
You see, I thought I was ready for ministry. I know that is what God has called me into, and that is what I'm going to do. He has been prepping me for the past several years for this, through many ups and downs, dragging me through a refiner's fire, painfully removing everything in my way of Him. And so, after years of this, culminating in January of this year, I read this verse and find I still have a LIFETIME of work ahead of me. Let me elaborate.
"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave 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.
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building."
1 Corinthians 3:5-9
Wow. As much as Paul could have patted himself on the back, he places himself right with Apollos. The church had been dividing, half saying they were with Paul, the other with Apollos. Paul calls them carnal, saying they were nothing but spiritual babies. Paul humbly takes the focus off of them and points them to God. But that's not what really gets me. What really hit me was verse 9. "For we are God's fellow workers". The HCSB says we are God's coworkers. And he is speaking not just of himself, but all ministers of the Word of God. God's COWORKER. Do you realize how unworthy we are? As John the Baptist said, we're not even worthy to untie our Lord's sandals, and yet we are coworking with God, planting, watering, and harvesting this field before us. I look back on my semester, my Personal Evangelism encounters that I've had to do for class, and I wonder if I was doing it for class or for God? I want to say I was, but I can't say for sure...a whole new set of priorities has been defined for me. Next time, I'd like to get into what those are and how I need to go about them. Please, if you have anything to add, I would love to hear it. Thanks!!!