Friday, April 20, 2018

Ready for Growth?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, ....
(1 Corinthians 3:5-9 ESV)

We come to this Friday with a hope of Spring. I know the calendar has claimed that it is spring for a time now, but perhaps our weather is finally catching up. Spring means lots of things. It means a winding down of school. It means a wardrobe change. It means baseball. And, it means a season of planting and cultivating.

As you get ready to till the soil in your gardens and as you prepare your lawns, perhaps it is a good time to think about the fact that this is an image that God uses to describe His work in our lives. We are God’s field, Paul tells the Corinthians (I Cor. 3:9). Plowing, planting, pruning and watering all take place in the fields of our lives. And like a master gardener, God is working the process in just the right way, at just the right time, in order to produce just the right harvest. We recognize that not every stage is pleasant. Who likes the churn of the blade or the cut of the knife? But like the vine stripped of its grapes, standing bare through winter, cut back to the stem, despoiled, disfigured, left a leafless stock we are being shaped into fruit-bearing instruments in the Redeemers hands. Ugo Bassi sums up this life of the vine with these words: While the vine undergoes this death, the wine it has produced is gladdening the heart of man.… We need the paradigm of the vine, which is not bitter for the torment undergone, not barren for the fullness yielded up … the vine from every living limb bleeds wine.

May God give us the grace to look ahead and trust the work He is doing in our lives and in our church. As we move forward we can take heart for, as we will hear this weekend in God's word that Pastor Steve will be opening with us (John 16:25-33), Christ has overcome the world. With this as our basis, may our life together bleed wine.

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