The Increase

by TerryLema

Our daughter and son-in-love came over last week to take down the Christmas lights that decorated the front of our house. We had taken down and put away most of the Christmas decorations on January 1, but the lights hanging from the roof required a ladder to remove and my almost 81-year-old husband does not need to be going up and down a ladder. My son-in-love, who put the lights up, came to take them down.  Appreciate him so much!

While we were all together Bob and our daughter started a conversation about this year’s garden and what Bob was going to plant.  I am still appreciating last year’s garden … at the time in the slow cooker was a stew that contained tomatoes, green and yellow beans, peppers from last year’s harvest.

After my daughter and son-in-love left, I was reminded about Paul’s description of a spiritual garden in his first letter to the church at Corinth.  It came after he described some of the problems ripe in that church, problems that included division, envy, strife, and blatant sin.  Paul reminded his readers that there should be no divisions, we all participate in God’s spiritual garden in different ways.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” [1 Corinthians 3:6-7 HCSB]

As I look back on my life, I see that gardening principle in action. I have often planted seeds in people, and I have done a lot of watering through encouragement and care. Surprisingly, I have not harvested many of the seeds I planted or even those I watered, but I have been honored to harvest seeds that others planted and watered.

Our privilege is to plant and to water and to harvest – but it is God’s job to give the increase. He is the one who convicts and through the power of His Spirit enables a soul to respond in faith to His grace.  Each soul is to His glory!

How grateful we should be that God invites us to participate in His Spiritual Gardening of Souls. Let’s make sure we scatter a lot of seed and do a lot of watering. I anticipate a great harvest in the near future!

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