There is a sacred paradox between God’s work and ours.
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 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.
There is a sacred paradox between God’s work and ours. The Psalmist says “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:2). If God watches and we watch, who’s actually doing the watching? Both. “For we are God’s fellow workers,” Paul says to the church in Corinth. There is a holy togetherness by which we partner with God in the work he gives. We plant and water, but God makes things grow. We watch and guard, but God grants protection. We are responsible for certain action, but so is God.
When God enters our activity, he gives life and breath to the toil of our hands. He infuses our work with meaning and purpose. Sadly, we often fail to acknowledge this. We neglect to pray for his involvement or we forget to notice it entirely. Rather than embracing the tension of working together, we assume passivity on either end. Either we believe God remains passive leaving us alone to complete our work, or we believe God wishes for us to remain passive so he can get the glory. Ironically, this is not how it works!
God invites us to live in the tension between sloth and ambition. It’s tempting to fall on either end because laziness feeds our comfort and productivity our control. But, both are false gospels. God doesn’t want drop outs or workaholics. He desires something beautifully in-between as we do life “with” God. An invitation which is both empowering and relaxing. We can confidently step the way God’s divinely made us to be and relax into him because he’s in control over the fruitfulness and result of whatever we do. Take the next few minutes to ask God to infuse your work today.
By Yvonne Biel