Farmers and Builders
by Pr. Dave Mann
Building the church in the kingdom of God is a big work and serious business.
It is a big work which requires many different people with different skills. In the first analogy that Paul uses, he is in a field as a farmer. Paul is the planter, Apollos is the irrigator, and God is behind the entire effort, making the crop grow. Both the one who places the seed in the ground and the one who waters are needed. They are working toward the same goal. Some of us who had a very decisive moment of conversion can remember with deep gratitude the person whom God used to bring us to repentance and faith. Others of us had a different sort of experience, being drawn slowly but surely toward the arms of our Savior through the long work of discipleship and mentoring in the same direction. Those who focus on bringing people to conversion and those who concentrate on disciple-making are on the same team.
Building the church is also serious business. We should not enter this work presuming that we can do it in a slip-shod manner. The second analogy that Paul uses is that of constructing a building. Paul has wisely and carefully laid the foundation; others are building on it. But let them build up with the same care as the foundation has been laid. That care concerns the expert use of masonry skills as well as the choice of materials. Only the best will do, though there are many possibilities: gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw. The challenges of life will take their toll on the cheaper options. We should be wary of a plan that amounts only to a quick flash in the pan when choosing the discipleship options for ourselves or for others in whom we invest.
Who has laid the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ in your life? Who (one or more people) has carefully built in you the pathway of discipleship? And are you laying a foundation for others, bringing them to faith? Are you building structures of discipleship that will last the trials and temptations of this world?
Thank you, Lord God, for using people to lay in me the foundation of the teaching of the prophets and apostles -- (name them) ______________. Thank you for bringing people into my life who were patient and caring, walking with me, and leading me to lay down deep roots by becoming a disciplined follower of Jesus -- (name them) ______________. Lord, help me to do the same for others. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.