Here you will find a monthly message from Pastor Bill Wade.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth… For we are God’s fellow workers.
You are God’s field… (1 Corinthians 3:6–9)
Our 3rd - 5th graders just finished planting the garden next to the church building to raise produce for our local food pantry. The process of growing plants seems to be one of God’s favorite illustrations in the Bible. One of the lessons we learn from gardening is the glory of monotony (which is probably why I’m not a better gardener). We don’t like waiting. Or doing the same things over-and-over again. Or… waiting. (How grumpy do we get when we try to load a web page and it doesn’t appear fully on our screen in 0.2 seconds flat?)
One way we can learn to glory in monotony is to realize that in some ways we are the planted, and in some ways we are the planters. God loves to plant things and to watch them grow - it’s one of His core character traits. G. K. Chesterton once wrote:
Because children have abounding vitality… they always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. [quoted in Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor, p. 85]
God says to us every morning, “Do it again: Go to work. Finish that homework assignment. Balance the checkbook. Forgive your neighbor (for the umpteenth time). Pull the weeds. Do the dishes. Forgive your neighbor (for the umpteenth time plus one)…” One of our tasks as a human being is to endure through the monotony of life and keep on producing for God’s glory. Doesn’t it feel good to hear God say to us: I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary (Revelation 2:3)? Keep planting; the work is worth the monotony.
But the Gospel is not complete if it’s all about planting and trying to keep up with God. Before we ever pick up a garden spade, we remember that we ourselves have been planted. God gave us life, Christ replanted us in His own vineyard with new life, and the Holy Spirit causes us to grow to maturity. But even being a plant takes patience. Samuel Rutherford wrote when he was practically imprisoned for his faith: “The Great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace, in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide till the great master of the vineyard think fit to transplant me.” [Eswine, 86] That’s the attitude we long for: contentment over restlessness. We are planted by a loving Gardener who knows what He is doing; surely we can trust in His plan to plant us where we belong and to grow us into what we are meant to become.
As members of the church we are both God’s field and planters in God’s field. So let’s work and wait, proclaim the Gospel and pray for Gospel fruit - and trust that God has a plan to use us to grow His church for His glory.
April 2, 2017