June 2011 – Week 4

Meditation for the week of June 26, 2011.

Time to Grow

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

Last Sunday was the second Sunday after Pentecost. This marks the beginning of the “non-festival” half of the church year. The next major festival will not come until late November with Advent and our preparation for Christmas.

The color that the church uses for this season is green. It’s the color of growth. All of the hard work has been done by Jesus Christ in establishing His church through His birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit. Now it’s time for the church to grow.

I did a lot of planting this past year. I planted bulbs in the fall and seeds in the spring. I planted flowers and vegetables. I planted bushes and trees. It was a lot of hard work to prepare the ground and to plant each item. I’m looking forward to their growth, their blooming, and eating the fresh fruits and vegetables.

But I can’t just sit back and wait for the plants to grow. They need care. They need watering. They need to be fed. There are weeds to pull and branches to prune. If I just sit back and do nothing, the plants will die.

The same is true of the church. We can’t say, “Well, I’m off to a good start, I’ve been baptized, I know what I believe, I can just sit back and do nothing” and expect to grow. It takes watering, it takes weeding and pruning to keep the church growing.

The Lord sends out pastors and missionaries to do this work. St. Paul writes, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” St. Paul did the hard work of preaching God’s word to the people of Corinth. When he left for the next town, Apollos came and continued his work there. He cared and tended the people like a gardener cares for his plants.

But at the end of the day, God was the one who granted the growth. Neither Paul nor Apollos could take any credit. God was the one who created and strengthened the faith of the people in Corinth.

Sometimes we do everything we can and our garden still fails. Sometimes, even though we neglect it, somehow the plants manage to grow. Ultimately, everything is in the Lord’s hands.

This summer as we continue through the season after Pentecost, use every opportunity to hear and study God’s Word. The pastors are here every week care for you, as a gardener tends his plants. In the end, though, it is God who will grant the growth.

Lord God, you sent Paul and Apollos to care for the congregation at Corinth, and you send pastors and missionaries to care for your people today. Grant that your church grow through your Holy Spirit, until you return at the final harvest. Amen.