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. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
God gives the growth. Paul repeats it because it’s that important. Though we are involved in the sowing and reaping process, it is God who is the true gardener. It is he who changes hearts and lives. No manner of striving and working on our part can yield the results that God can bring. And yet, he invites us into the process still. But not without the reminder that it is he who ultimately causes the growth. I believe this should cause us to take a deep sigh of relief. It does not all fall on us. Yes, we work and obey and participate. But we can, with joy and peace, recognize on whose capable shoulders the end result falls. He alone is worthy of all the glory and honor for any kingdom growth.
A number of years ago I saw very clearly how it was God and God alone who could change a person’s heart. Someone we deeply loved was choosing the path of adultery. Our hearts broke and we, along with many others, began fervently praying for this person to see their sin and turn from it. Many attempted to talk this person out of their choices, to no avail. I remember one Sunday morning a familiar worship song began to play at our church: “Jesus Paid It All”. As it came to one particular line I could barely sing. “Lord, now indeed I find Thy power and thine alone can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.” In that moment I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, “Pray. Keep praying. I’m the one who melts the heart of stone. Not you.” Miraculously, this person repented and chose to reconcile with their spouse. I believe it was a direct result of many prayers and God’s direct intervention, not solely the many pleading and truth-telling conversations. Perhaps you can think of a similar situation in your life or someone else’s. The story does not always have a redeeming end, but God is at work and you can recognize that his power is able to melt a heart of stone, praise be to Jesus! Take a moment to thank him for that today. As you reflect, you can take a listen to Jesus Paid It All.
By Ellen Rosenberger