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. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”
1 Corinthians 3:5–9
Paul’s tone sounds parental in this chapter. Have you ever heard a daddy lecture? I remember getting the occasional lecture from one of my parents as a child. Now, I am the parent, and I, too, mount the parental soap box from time to time. Paul does the same thing here. He offers several illustrations in an attempt to get through to this church. Today we focus on his gardener illustration.
Somehow this young church had begun to look to their favorite teachers as the source of power in their faith. It’s ridiculous to give a farmer credit for a plant’s photosynthesis. A human may plant and water, but no person causes a plant to grow. In the same way, spiritual maturity is a work of God, NOT man.
In the opening lines of the chapter, Paul tells them that he has been forced to dumb down his speech, because they are not mature enough to hear his words. It is in that context that he uses this illustration of the field. In other words, a marker of maturity is the ability to place trust in God rather than in human leadership.
How are we doing in our churches today? Is our faith contingent upon the music’s quality or the preacher’s charisma? Our tendency to trust a human leader rather than God signifies spiritual immaturity. Take a moment to ask yourself these questions. Is your faith contingent upon a human teacher? Are you able to hear God’s voice and lead to take responsibility for yourself? Ask God to teach you more how to lean on him rather than on any other human leader.