June 09, 2017

Coworkers in God’s Garden

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

We are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field. . . .

—  1 Corinthians 3:9

Sometimes I think of our backyard garden as my project. After all, I plow in spring; I plant seeds and seedlings (with some help from my wife); I stake up tomato plants (with help cutting and tying the strings); I cultivate around plants; I pick the produce (with help when the harvest is heavy); I uproot plants as they die off; and I plow up the garden before winter. Come to think of it, my wife processes the produce, and occasionally I assist. As you can see, the garden is more than my project. I need a coworker in the garden.

God’s garden is as big as this world. Comparing and competitive Christians in Corinth needed to be reminded that God never planned for us to tend his garden alone. Nor was one person more important than another in this project. We are all privileged to be coworkers with God and each other in our Lord’s mission to rescue and restore his creatures and creation. And each person is important.

Working together is essential in the field we call the church. Our gifts and efforts are encouraged and coordinated, and relationships are cultivated to build up the body of Christ as God’s agents of transformation in the world. The most effective churches I have served know and practice this.

How are you doing with your church in working together in God’s garden?

Lord, only you can make your church grow in line with your purposes. Help me to work well with you and with all others in Christ. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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