David Buchan, Lennox Evangelical Church
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. 9 For we are fellow workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
BBC news ran an article on the 11th of November 2020 entitled "covid-19 new lock down brings new DIY projects".
Now for many lockdown has been a terrible experience in which lives and livelihoods have been lost. I must say as someone who does have the privilege of working from home, I do sometimes feel a little bit jealous when I hear of people who have the time to learn an instrument, paint their house or take up a new hobby!
Nonetheless lockdown for some has brought the time and opportunity to undertake projects and learn new skills (remember Joe Wicks). Remember when you couldn't find flour because of the upsurge in home baking? Maybe your kids are teaching you how to use TikTok? Perhaps you've been volunteering to help others – keeping others connected through phone calls, delivering essential medicines, medical equipment or shopping. Or perhaps, like me it was sowing seeds and plants (we gave some to our nephews and nieces children packets of seeds to sow).
I'd like to ask you a question: What will you be sowing or planting or watering this year? In the Bible text 1st Corinthians chapter 3 verses 5 to 9 it says "I planted the seed, Apollo's watered it.. But God made it grow". Paul makes the point that the Lord has assigned each his task. We also know that the seed is the word of God in the parable of the sower (Luke 8:11) but allow me to suggest that we can sow good actions to benefit others. Now we know that in this text Paul is speaking about Christians. He wants them to be spiritual not just having the Spirit but having the Spirit in charge. He's speaking about maturity.
Three things that are important as we face a new year together:
· diversity: Paul says one ploughs the soil, another sows, while a third waters the seed and others enjoy reaping the harvest. Diversity! Everybody is important. Everybody is needed in the kingdom of God.
· unity of purpose: No matter what we do for the Lord, all are part of the work and the harvest: verse 8 says they have one purpose. Paul, Apollos and Peter were not competing with one another. Each did their bit – their assigned task under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This required unity of purpose and unity of the Spirit.
· humility: None of us can produce the harvest (vs 6 and 7 repeat God made it grow, and God is the one who makes it grow). The Corinthians were proud of their church and their leaders but the glory belongs to the Lord. Did you hear about the minister who said he had a wonderful sermon on humility but was waiting for a large crowd before preaching it?! "Humility, said William Temple, does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people. Nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all."
So the challenge in this New Year is to ask ourselves: "What am I planting? Have I been called to water something or have I been called to pray that God makes it grow?" In acknowledging our diversity, unity of purpose with humidity, may God bless our service for him in Dumbarton!