I often fall prey to the false ascription of “glamour” to certain aspects of sharing the gospel. Being an American, I am a results driven individual who desires to see the immediate fruit of my labor. I strongly desire to be a catalyzing factor in leading someone who is lost across the line of faith and share in the moment where “Heaven rejoices for a sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). That moment where a once lost soul accepts Jesus is an incredible moment I pray all are able to witness, however, there are many other beautiful parts we often overlook. Take for example the first time a lost person is curious and begins to ask questions or when the Holy Spirit begins to convict the sin in their life. These moments are so vital and beautiful to God as He draws the lost to Him. James Emory White gives the analogy of a couple falling in love to help understand this concept. Yes, the wedding is a beautiful day that is important to a couple’s story, but so is their first date, their first argument that resulted in determination to resolve not a breakup, and their engagement. Our duty in this process is examined in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 which states, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” This passage should encourage us to do two things:
1. Do your part.
Paul the greatest missionary or the Christian faith did not see all of his faith conversations end with a sinner turned saint. Rather, most of his conversations ended with him scorned, imprisoned, and beaten. However, the urgency to plant seeds superseded any agony of the flesh to Paul. Sometimes the seeds took root immediately and grew to saving faith as with the jailer in Acts 16, but other times he planted the seeds and other faithful men like Apollos came along and watered them as with the Corinthian church. God has given each and every one of us specific gifts that he desires to use in different ways as he draws the lost unto himself. So do not be discouraged if your coworkers, family, or friends do not accept Christ the first time you share the gospel with them. Your duty to them may be to simply plant seeds and ensure they have every opportunity to grow. Be encouraged and be faithful in doing your part.
2. Acknowledge God’s glory
After stating the various positions people have in the harvest process, Paul acknowledges God’s overwhelming place in the process. We are called to be obedient and plant and water seeds, but it is God who provides the growth. This fact should take a massive weight off of many of us. In my own life, I place so much pressure on myself to say or do the right thing in how I present the gospel. This thinking places way too much emphasis on me that somehow I will be the one to convert an unbeliever. Ultimately it is God who provides the growth and draws unbelievers. Don’t get me wrong, we are called to be prepared to share with anyone who asks about our faith but I am talking about the feeling that what I say or do will be the thing that changes someone’s heart. It is God behind what I say and do that will lead to life change. God is the one to be praised and glorified when someone comes to faith because He is the one who brought about the miracle.
What ways can you come alongside family members, coworkers, or friends in the various stages of their spiritual journeys and do your part by either planting or watering gospel seeds?