Have you ever had any of these thoughts before?
- If I were to leave, this church would fall apart.
- If they would just let me ________, things would be so much better.
- This church is blessed that I got here right in time.
These are not uncommon thoughts for those who serve the church in some capacity, but they’re also not humble thoughts. Surely, God works through us and uses our labor for His purposes, but ultimately it is not we who make converts or mature believers or cause revivals. Look at how Paul viewed his own ministry–which we venture to say is unmatched by any of our own:
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. – 1 Corinthians 3:5-7
The Corinthian church was split into factions, based on which church leader they were loyal to. Paul’s point is that while, yes, Paul did bring the gospel to them and Apollos did shepherd them, it was God who gave the growth.
While he doesn’t deny that human work is required, his conclusion is that the servants are not anything. Only God is worthy of such loyalty, specifically since He is the one who gave them new life and was continuing to sanctify them.
If Paul and Apollos were not anything, who are we to boast even in our own hearts? We may very well be useful to our churches, and we pray that we are. But we could die today, and God’s church would go on. He gives the growth.
So, may we continue to labor as faithful servants and take no credit for ourselves, but give all glory to God.