Don’t Forget the Water!
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 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. – 1 Corinthians 3:4-7
This passage has struck me in a new way recently. I simply want to encourage you from this text. I hope that God brings something helpful out of it.
I often find myself acting like the Corinthians in this text. I find myself almost idolizing the “Paul’s” and “Apolloses” in my life, rather than focusing on Christ. In other words, I tend to place too much importance on the pastor/speaker/small group leader, etc., and I forget God who is the one speaking through them. According to this text, people don’t matter at all when it comes to regenerating souls. It is “God who gives the growth.” As my youth pastor put it, “We’re like water hoses.” What he means is that the gospel is like “water”, and they are simply water hoses through which the gospel runs. If someone were in the middle of a desert and the only way they could get water was out of a hose, I can promise you that they will not care what the hose looks like. They will care solely about the water. Water hoses don’t sustain physical life. Water sustains physical life. In the same way, people don’t create and sustain spiritual life. God creates and sustains spiritual life. The key in everything is to focus on what God wants to communicate through His “water hoses.”
I think this idea is more revolutionary than we might realize. Here’s what it means for me. It means that I can go to a church service/youth group/conference in another place, and even if the teaching is different than what I’m accustomed to hearing, I don’t have to turn off. Instead, I can pray that God will use something that is said to encourage me in my faith. After all, God doesn’t need a specific “water hose” in order to cause spiritual growth. He doesn’t even need a specific building. Further, just because something is “different” does not make it “bad.” Is it true that truth may be spoken more clearly in one place verses another? Yes. Is it true that some speakers are more gifted than others? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t work through anyone He chooses, no matter how gifted they are from a human perspective. He’s God, and He doesn’t fit in to any of our molds!
I want to encourage you to keep an open mind and heart wherever you go. Don’t forget that God is always working. Don’t forget that God is always trying to show you something amazing about Himself, and He can do it however He chooses. He doesn’t need a famous preacher or a gifted youth pastor. He doesn’t need a church building or a Christian music festival.
All He needs is the glorious gospel of Christ to satisfy us for all eternity!