The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded for his own labor. (1 Cor 1:8)
In my current role as a youth leader I’ve spent a great deal more time studying Scriptures than I have in the past, most of which has been in order to teach my students. This morning, however, I took the time to read more for myself and I opened to the first chapter of 1 Corinthians. It ended up being a reminder I vitally needed right now.
The beginning of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church is dealing with a problem that had arisen in an among the believers there about which teacher was the best: Paul or Apollos. It’s the type of debate we still get up in arms about today from everything from who is the worst heroine ever to stumble across the printed page to who is the best leader for our country. In this case Paul’s answer was surprisingly simple: Neither and both.
The thing we all need to remember, according to Paul, is no matter what our role we are only part of a whole. A team designed to work together. Without a planter there is no seed placed in the ground. Without someone to water, the seed can never germinate and grow. Without someone to weed, those little seedlings are going to get choked out. And without someone coming up behind to help bring in the harvest, all the time that the planter, waterer, and weeder put into nurturing those plants will have been for nothing.
This short little passage also reminded me that each of us finds ourselves given certain tasks during specific seasons of our lives. These tasks aren’t just for the benefit for others, they’re for our benefit as well. It’s during these times our personal character is stretched. And as writers of both fiction and non-fiction, we have to go through these painful processes if the words we share as a result are going to have any lasting value to our readers.
And then there are the seasons that come with the planting analogy he uses. Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…”
If I’ve learned anything it the past year, it’s how true those words are. Seasons change. Tasks are assigned and completed. The question I had to ask myself is, when the time comes will I be paying attention so I know my job is finished? And am I willing to move on so I can start the next?