Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.”
I've talked a lot about gardening in these devotions. Not only because I enjoy it but there are so many lessons we can learn about our Christian walk with God. When you have a garden, you are the one who must do most of the work, period. You must plant the seeds, water them and pull the weeds. When you do your job, God has created the seeds to do theirs and soon, if the time and season is right, you'll have a harvest.
Paul puts our witnessing to others in 1 Corinthians 3:6 in a way we can understand it. “I planted the seeds, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”
Witnessing can be like a garden except you are not expected to do most of the work or all the work yourself. Let's look at this and break it down a little more.
‘I (Paul) planted the seed’. Some of us are called to just plant the seed of Jesus in someone's life. They are the ones to get things started. Maybe invite a neighbor to church or meetings. You could be the one to hand out literature or just show Him by your words and actions. In this way those around you are introduced to Jesus.
‘Apollos watered it’. You planted the seed, now you are done. For others God has called them to water the seeds. They are the ones to help God's truth grow more in their lives. Pastors, those who give Bible studies. Elders, deacons, evangelists, or those who are great at speaking and answering those tough Bible questions.
Lastly, ‘God made it grow’. Like God's hand in the creation of how seeds grow into plants, vegetables and flowers, it is God's hand in helping new believers grow. He has asked us to be the witness but after we've done our part it is now time to allow God to work His power in their lives. It is God who sees and understands their life and heart and because He has a plan for all of us, He knows the timing to help the watered seed grow.
This doesn't mean we now step back and do nothing to help the new believer along. We can be there to help pull out the weeds of Satan when he tries to creep in. We can be a good friend, offer encouragement and support, listen and continue to be a steppingstone in what they need. Most effectively, we can continue to pray for them and their walk with God.
Above all, Paul is trying to teach us through this planting metaphor that you cannot be responsible for the spiritual condition of others. You can only be responsible for your own spiritual walk. You have to do what God asks by planting and watering but then you have to let God work on their salvation and believe that God's word is true enough that when He says He will do what He says, He will do it. Isaiah 55:10-11 “Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return without watering the ground. They cause the plants to sprout and grow, making seeds for the farmer and bread for the people. The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.”
Today you can be a steppingstone or stumbling block as you witness. You can share God's word and the wonderful things of Jesus in your life by planting or watering. Or you can choose to do it all, including God's job, but that will cause others to stumble because that is not our place or where God has put us as His witnesses.
Today figure out where God has placed you and do your calling the best you can. Then trust God and allow others to help in their calling the best they can. You may never know what a difference you have made in someone else’s life just by simply planting or watering, but God does, and He is daily at work sending the sun to help them grow. And when the time is right Jesus will come and harvest all Christians who truly follow Him and grew with Him as their Savior.
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