What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 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. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
General George S. Patton is a name many people recognize. Arguably the best US Army tactical commander in the European Theater during World War II, Patton seemed to have played a sideline role during the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944. His role was to pretend, leading the fictitious First US Army Group. Along with this deception, double agents, and other means, the Germans were led to believe the actual invasion was at Calais, and Normandy was a ruse. While Patton felt he was shunned, the German leadership held him in very high regard and the Allied leadership knew it. This led to the Germans making significant strategic and tactical mistakes during and shortly after the D-Day invasion. While Patton felt sidelined, the allies were able to establish a firm foothold on ‘Fortress Europa’ from which they were eventually victorious. Arguably, Patton’s ‘sideline’ role was pivotal. Ever feel that way?
Just like Patton’s experience on D-Day, our experience as followers of Jesus sometimes leaves us wondering how and why we’re not more influential in Kingdom work. We look at others wondering why we’re not doing what they’re doing. Not being able to see the end, or to be ‘in’ on the entire process, whatever it might be, leaves us feeling sidelined and left out, much the same as Patton.
Yet Paul was spot on with his Corinthian message: we’re all part of the Kingdom, and the path the Lord takes us on is changing and we’re involved in so many ways, some of which we’ve a role and we don’t even realize it!
Slowly reread our passage for today and consider times when you’ve felt sidelined. Then consider how you discovered your part of God’s plan despite your feelings. Sometimes, we don’t realize these things until time has passed, and we reflect dispassionately. Contemplate these recollections and see if you don’t find yourself learning to rejoice with and for others in the Kingdom as we live for the benefit of the Kingdom. Let this exercise help you bring this process nearer in time so you can rejoice with your fellow Kingdom citizens when you see them living for the kingdom.
By Rich Obrecht