"I got 9 foot sunflowers out there." Mike was on the phone with his Mom. I'm thankful for the pleasure in the conversation. There was a brief pause, "No, I didn't do anything. I just put em' in the ground."
My heart stopped a little bit in the realization of that statement. "I didn't do anything, I just put them in the ground."
"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 in anything, but only God who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded acording to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." 1 Corinthians 3: 5-9
I heard it preached on Sunday and it was as though rain was literally falling on my parched and thirsty soul. My legalism can certainly get the best of me and I can cheapen grace with the best of them. When I see fruit in my life I think, "God is SO VERY LUCKY to have me on His team. I am probably the MVP or at least the Most Improved!" Then when there is no fruit and my temper is quick and my mouth is foul (from the darkness of my heart) I wonder if I'm even saved. "How could a dirty wretch like me even believe for one second that Jesus would have anything to do with me?"
Then I hear things like, "I just put em' in the ground." and in seasons where my faith is the size of a smaller than usualy mustard seed, I am relieved. Really? Could that really be true that any fruit on the vine of my life, or those around me is there because God is the One? What a relief. Then there are the days when I think, "Well, if He's going to be the One responsible for fruit...why am I slaving away like this?" Here's the thing, I do need to tend the garden. Mike didn't just throw the seeds in the ground and hope for the best. He sort of did that, but he also made his own soil "cocktail" and watered every day sometimes twice a day. He inspected the garden for bugs and checked for fruit daily. He did not however, produce the fruit. Hmmm.
There are so many things about God that I know without a shadow of a doubt are true. My life, however, says otherwise. I am so very thankful that my ability to believe the truth doesn't change the fact that the Truth is the Truth. And the Truth is that it is God who makes all things grow. We can pull the weeds that would choke out the fruit. We can tend the soil and water the roots, but when it all comes down and those 9 foot sunflowers just keep growing. All we can do is be amazed...just like everyone else.