What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe –as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”1 Cor. 3:5-7
It’s springtime in the gardens, and they are full of new growth. As light hours and temperatures increase, God’s created world comes to life. The sun bounces playfully off fresh broad bean leaves, and roses awake from their sleep.
The mornings are filled with bird song, and I enjoy a subdued warmth as I work. However, sunlight and vegetable crops are not the only things in bloom. There is a growth that one cannot always see.
I was made aware of this growth while moving tomato grates from one garden plot to another. As we moved the grates, I took the opportunity to practice a simple but effective story we use to share the Gospel. Brian, the visiting missionary with whom I was working, took a gracious participatory role as I spoke.
The story is an old one. One I hope you have heard. It speaks of God creating man in a perfect garden and in perfect relationship. It tells of how man chose to disobey his perfect God and how death and suffering entered the world as a result. The story explains that God was not content to leave man in such a miserable state, but sent another Man, his own Son to save those who had disobeyed. This Man lived a perfect life and was killed for it. But because this Man had followed his Father perfectly, death could not keep him. He rose again.
The story continues….
Now, those who admit their sin and disobedience before God and trust His Son for forgiveness, can live in restored relationship with Him as it was in the beginning. Not only that, but death will not keep them either.
As stories tend to go, there is more to it, but Brian and I decided to remain in the simplicity of the moment.
As I spoke, Stephen, our master apprentice, finished studying scripture with Phillip, our new apprentice. Stephen has been very faithful to walk through the gospel of Mark with Phillip and it is fun to see seeds planted.
Before Phillip walked out the garden gate, I wondered if he also would like to hear the story. I asked, and he politely said yes.
In the spring sunlight, I once again worked through the story. Phillip attentively listened. When I came to the end I asked,
“So where are you, Phillip? Do you have peace with God through Jesus Christ, or are you still living in sin and trying to escape this broken world on your own?”
He responded with, “I really want to know Jesus.”
“Do you believe he is God’ son and that he rose from the dead?” I asked.
“Yes” he responded.
“Would you like to trust him right now for your forgiveness?”
“Yes” he said simply.
In prayer, and like a young seedling plant, Stephen, Brian and I had the privilege of seeing this young man emerge from the soil and stretch towards the Son. He trusted Him for his salvation.
There were no bells. No whistles. Just a quiet trusting of a life in his Savior.
Certainly, this moment was a privilege, and I was only the waterer. Stephen had done the hard work of planting and tending. But our God…caused Phillip to grow.