“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9
I hated group projects in school. There I said it (whew…now I feel better). But, the main reason I hated them was not because of having to work with other people. The real reason I hated them is that I could not control them. In essence, the problem was my own selfish heart. I wanted all of the credit and didn’t like sharing any of it with anyone else.
Imagine you are a painter and you have spent months working on a single painting. Day after day you faithfully worked on your art and finally you finish the piece and sign your name. Then, while you’re away letting the paint dry, someone else walks in, adds one paint stroke, and adds their name next to yours. How would you feel? I think if we were honest we would all admit that we would be angry because the painting is “ours.”
We treat ministry to people the same way. We like to take credit for what God has done in them.
In this passage, the apostle Paul answers our heart’s objections. He uses the illustration of planting a seed to show that Christians are all “God’s fellow workers” in the same field. In light of this, it doesn’t matter whether we planted the seed or came later and watered it because God is the one who causes the seed to grow.
This frees us up to give our lives and talents away to others without worrying about who gets the credit. How would your life change if you were able to serve people freely without worrying about getting credit for it?