I don’t think I had ever heard of Alison Krauss before I met my wife. In an attempt to indoctrinate me to the ways of the southern culture, and music, she played me a bluegrass song that she was sure I would enjoy; and she was correct. That song was The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn, and it became one of our favorites.
It’s the story of a boy who planted and cultivated a great crop of corn, but was too lazy to harvest it and lost it to the frost. He then goes to the farmer’s daughter next door and asks for her hand in marriage, only to be told that she’d rather be single than marry a lazy man. Good for her.
Our text deals with a farmer, but not an ordinary farmer. God is the ultimate Farmer, using many different tools to accomplish His tasks, so that no field goes unnoticed.
One of the Corinthian’s problems, and there were many, was that they were enamored with the Farmer’s tools instead of the Farmer. They looked to Paul and Apollos (Christ and Peter too) as their own personal heroes and berated one-another if they did not agree. The jealousy, fighting, and arrogance of the Corinthian believers were akin to a schoolyard shouting match among children and not the actions of supposed mature believers. They looked at the men and their gifts instead of looking to God as the giver of the gifts.
Through these verses, Paul sets the record straight as to the pecking order of the servant of God; there is God, and then there is everyone else.
Paul and Apollos are merely servants (v.5). Planting the seed and watering it are of equal value (v.6), and those who do it are not anything (v.7). The workers, whoever they are, have one purpose in their service to the Master, and will be rewarded according to their labor (v.8). Fellow workers for the Gospel work for God, not with Him (v.9). After all is said and done (sometimes, more is said than done), and the seeds are planted and watered, it is God who makes things grow (vv.6-7).
Knowing that God is in charge is freeing. The outcome is His. God has called me to be a worker for Him and he will reward me for my labor. The bible does not say successes, but labor. I am to be His hands and feet, but He is the One who saves the soul.
The boy who wouldn’t hoe his corn was lazy and his crop failed because of his laziness. That’s the way it is in the physical and spiritual world, you reap what you sow (Gal 6:7-9). A Gospel centered view of leaders is that they are servants under their Lord, who is head of the church (Eph 5:23). There will be unity when we see others through the eyes of Christ, and disunity, disharmony, strife, and factions when we do not.
Whether we plant or water, we are to be sharing the good news of the Gospel everywhere we go. We should believe that God will not be lazy, and will bring a bumper-crop of souls into His kingdom as He sees fit. During the process of my co-working servitude, if I am made too much of, may I be reminded that I am only a servant, one of many tools in the hands of the great Farmer; the glory is His, the honor is His, the harvest is His. Apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5).
Grace and Peace,