“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).
When the Roman soldiers finally broke through the defenses of Herod’s desert fortress of Masada almost two thousand years ago, they were thinking about the Jewish rebels inside and the unrest they caused. They weren’t thinking of the handful of dried dates buried in the rubble.
Making dead seeds grow
The archaeologists didn’t think much of the dates either when a dig uncovered them in 1973. For the next 30 years the dates gathered dust in a historian’s desk drawer until someone thought to do what seemed impossible: plant them to see if they grow.
Grow? A handful of dry, dead seeds that had been buried in the unforgiving desert dust for two thousand years? They were the last relics of a variety of plant that had long since disappeared—organic matter long past any expiration date we would assign it.
Speak his Word! . . . Share it knowing that the Creator knows exactly how to give new life.
But consider the genius of the Creator who designed the seed. As water soaked into the seed, it activated two-thousand-year-old enzymes. Energy stores that were laid up during the days of the apostles began to unleash new growth. Slowly but surely, the growth of the seedling burst through the age-hardened layers of its shell so that fresh, new roots could seek the soil. No one would have thought it possible, but God knows the seeds he made. And he knows how to make them grow.
Giving life to the spiritually dead
He knows his people too. He knows you, and he knows the people in your life. He knows how beyond hope we seem sometimes. He sees the ways we leave his Word buried and forgotten in our lives. He’s watched as we let deliberate sins thicken a callus over our hearts like the dried coating of cast-off seed. He’s there when we look at our cities, our neighborhoods, our friends—even some in our families—and tell ourselves that people just don’t change, that God’s Word just won’t penetrate their hard hearts as we shuffle past them without saying a word.
Dear friend, remember who he is. He’s the Creator! He gives life! If he so loved this world that he designed something as simple as a seed to spring to life after millennia of hardship and neglect, how much greater love does he have for the people in your life!
Your best arguments might not be able to reach them; your friendship might not persuade them to come to church. But it’s not up to you! God can give life. After all, didn’t Jesus give his own life to wash away every sin? Hasn’t he promised you that Christ’s grace is exactly for the spiritually dead? So, speak his Word! Share it in love, share it with zeal, share it with hope, share it knowing that it’s not about you. Share it knowing that the Creator knows exactly how to give new life.
And on the days your heart feels cold or your hope calloused over, when you don’t know how to rekindle your joy and your zeal, go back to the living waters of his Word. Because when it comes to faith, hope, and joy, it doesn’t depend on you. God makes it grow.
Author: Joel Seifert
Volume 108, Number 5
Issue: May 2021