A good verse for mulling over today, especially being part of the ministry:
“I planted, Apollo 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 Cor. 3:6-7)
It’s so hard to separate ourselves from our ego, our desire to be the center stage, our cravings for praise — our selfishness, really. And Paul, who’s planted many churches and trained many pastors, is basically saying, “It’s just not about me. I didn’t do any of the really important work here — God did.”
God uses us as instruments to do his will, but the work of the Holy Spirit is his and his alone to do. I don’t save people; God does. I don’t convert hearts; God does. I don’t foster growth in the body of Jesus; God does.
It doesn’t mean we’re insignificant, just that God deserves all the glory for the success of ministry. God allows us to participate, but we can’t get to the point where we’re Moses striking a rock to cause a spring of water to come out and then taking the credit for it. That’s hubris and arrogance, and God is not partial to that attitude.
It’s why I’m very leery of praise and acclaim, particularly at church. I know that I crave it, a lot. And I know how quickly such words can go to my head and create a desire for even more. I have to remind myself that nothing good that’s happened here is my doing; God did it through me, and if I wasn’t here, he’d do it through someone else. I have the privilege of being a part of it, but it’s not my doing.