Archive for November 6th, 2019

1 Corinthians 3:8-10a

In 1 Corinthians 3:8-10a Paul explains that when Christian workers work together, they are rewarded according to their own labor. “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” In combating the Corinthian desire to divide among leaders, Paul reminds them they are all on the same team. Guzik wrote “How silly to say, “Planting is what is really important. Those waterers are really missing the boat.” Or to think, “Watering is where it’s at. Those planters better get their priorities straight.” The fact is planters and waterers are both necessary, both need each other, and both are working towards the same goal.”

All work together, but each is rewarded individually. Reward is not given according to gifts, talents, or even success, but according to their own labor. We don’t need to be worried about keeping score – God knows how and who to reward properly. In earthly ministry, that may not be true, but our eternal rewards will be dealt out correctly by God. Hodge wrote “The faithful, laborious minister or missionary who labours in obscurity and without apparent fruit, will meet a reward far beyond that of those who, with less self-denial and effort, are made the instruments of great results.”

We’re all on the same team. God has given us the amazing opportunity to work with Him. We cannot work without Him, and He does not usually work without us. God wants us to be His working partner! When you consider all the ways God could have done His work, it is even more amazing to know He wants our participation. “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” The work Paul did with God was to work “on” God’s people. They were his “field” (using the picture of a farmer planting and watering), and they were his “building” (using the picture of a builder). We are blessed to have the opportunity to be used by God as part of His plan.

Paul, the great Apostle and minister of the gospel, describes his ministry as something God has given him. He doesn’t claim it as his own. He begins with a declaration of grace. He knew that his status as a worker in God’s field, or on God’s building, was based on God’s undeserved favor, not on his own deserving or merit. “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation…..” It is an exalted thing to be a fellow worker with God. But God doesn’t choose exalted people to do His work. It isn’t anything in them that makes them worthy to be His worker, it is according to His grace alone. When Paul founded the church in Corinth he put in place the only foundation that can be laid: the person and work of Jesus Christ. Yet he knew that others would come after him and build on the foundation he set.

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