“5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.”
Paul makes things very clear here. As I have said, we are only tools in the hand of God to accomplish His work. Who is Paul? He is a servant, a tool in the hand of God. Who is Apollos? He is a servant, a tool in the hand of God. As we share the good news about Jesus with our families, friends, co-workers, and everyone else we come into contact with, we can recognize that we are just servants, tools in the hand of Almighty God to bring about His work. We plant, and we water. He is the one who gives us the strength to do the work. He gives us the ability and skill. Then He is the one who makes the seed grow. The Word of God is a seed that is planted in the heart of those who hear it. We encourage those who hear our words to believe, but it only happens by the hand of God. The seed only grows by the work of God.
So our part in the ministry of Christ is to obediently share the truth with everyone we get the opportunity. As Paul says, we are nothing. We are laboreres that have been sent by the Lord into the fields. He also owns the fields. Each of us will receive a reward according to our labor that we have done. The labor is to obediently do as Christ instructed to give testimony of Him. To show that Jesus came and died for sinners on the cross. That He rose from the grave three days later proving the truth of His word.
And the best part about all of this is that we don’t go into the fields alone. God goes with us to the degree that Paul calls us His fellow workers. We plant because He makes us able. He gives us the seed. We water because He gives us the strength and water to do so. God calls the seed to life. The seed sprouts, grows, begins to develop leaves, and ultimately produces fruit. God is there every step of the way. He even prunes the plant so that it produces more fruit. So faithful labor is what God has called us to. It is very simple.
For the Corinthians, Paul simply points all this out with the practical application for them to see their divisions are simply absurd. God is the one who sends, empowers, works through, and nutures the seed into a fruit producing plant. It is the work of Christ that makes it possible. Paul wrote these things so the people would repent of their divisions that had developed. It is Christ alone. That is one reason why we need to be careful about elevating mere men onto religious thrones or pedestals. The Pope is a mere man. The President of the SBC is a mere man. All pastors and teachers across the planet are mere men. Men are men who can do nothing. We are all fellow workers fulfilling a God given purpose and role, nothing more. Christ is the one to focus on. Men will always dissapoint; God will always exceed our expectations.