Tuesday, January 29, 2013

God Gives the Increase

     In the Corinthian Church, there were many conflicts not unlike churches today.  People were divided over whom they felt was the best teacher.  Some followed Paul and some followed Apollos so there was not unity.  The letter, which Paul penned to the believers in Corinth, addressed the question of who it is that really gives the growth and increase.  I Corinthians 3:6-8 reads:  "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters but God who gives the increase.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor."  Certainly there is a reward for those who labor in the fields of God but the glory belongs to the Lord of the harvest.
     My father was a farmer in northwestern Ohio.  So, I being a farmer's daughter, had a chance to ride on a tractor, combine, and in a grain wagon on the way to the mill as well as an opportunity to just smell the freshly turned dirt in a field.  My father used to tell me that he felt closest to God when he was working in his fields because it was the Lord that brought the harvest.
     Some years were good years for us and others...well, lets just say, they were lean.  However, my father never gave up planting and working the ground.  It was his blessing even though it was tough at times.  Nevertheless, when all was said and done, my father knew it was God that produced the increase.
     Within the Scripture passage, Paul said that some will water and some will plant, but rather than looking at those who serve as laborers, we are to look to the Lord.  Many Christians can get off track when they put their eyes on a pastor or other leader rather than on Christ.  Men are not the reason we are blessed but God is!  He is the One who can change the heart.  We are the tools He uses.
     In our lives, as in the work of farming the land, we may plant seed after seed in someone's life and not see any real results.  It would be easy to be discouraged and I confess, I have felt this way at times too.  However, this scripture should encourage us all.  Just because we do not see it happening at this moment does not mean it will not happen for it is God who gives the increase.  We are called to continue sowing seeds of love and truth.
     One day, I will see the results of my efforts at farming in the hearts of those I care about as long as I do not grow weary in well-doing.   If you have become discouraged about your heart-farming, take a lesson from the Apostle Paul and remember that it is the Lord that gives the increase.  May we remain faithful to His call in our lives.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and comments here.  Please feel free to leave them.

Picture of the tractor courtesy of Wikipedia Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massey-Ferguson Massey Ferguson] 3660 by Jesster79

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