Only God Can Make a Tree | 1 Corinthians 3

Welcome to Real Life. Who do I follow?

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. (1 Cor. 3:6)

It seems we cannot help but idolize people. A popular TV show held a competition to see who would become the next… American Idol. A vocalist, actor, or athlete tends to garner the largest fan base. My Cleveland's superstar athlete, LeBron James, has 34 million followers on Twitter. However, at the moment, our nation is most deeply divided over whom we follow politically. Who will save America?

The church is not exempt. Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, and C.S. Lewis are a few of our favorite mega-saints. Those whose lives inspire most are most admired. Many of us follow (i.e., attend the church of) the pastor we hold in highest esteem. In California, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is attended by 22,000 weekly.[1]  We further divide allegiance to Christ by denomination—theological camps formed by men.

Early on, the first century church also followed their favorites. Believers in Corinth boasted of, quarreled over, and aligned with various spiritual leaders, saying, “I follow Paul,” or, “I follow Apollos.”

Word got back to the Apostle Paul. He planted the first church in Corinth. And so, he wrote to them as a spiritual father correcting his children. Paul described their divisive behavior as infantile, worldly, and acting like mere men, not men empowered by the Spirit of God. Ouch!

In his letter to Corinth, Paul reminds us of this reality: "It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow."[2]  Only God gives life—physical or spiritual. C.S. Lewis, Mother Theresa, LeBron James and the President are only human. What do we have that we did not receive from God? My next breath, heartbeat, thought is a gift from His hand. Apart from Him, I cease to exist. As my pastor often says, “People are people, nothing more. God is God, nothing less.”

Only One is worthy of worship. Only One can save us. Let us agree in this. I follow Christ.

Am I saying we should not appreciate, admire, or support those who lives or talents inspire? Not at all. Let us appreciate man. Let us glorify God alone.

“I planted. Apollos watered,” says Paul. Here is the cool part. Though I am only human, my God invites me into His garden to join in His life-giving work. And he promises, my labor will be rewarded.

You plant. I water. But, only God can make a tree.

Dear Lord Jesus, I follow you.
Where shall we plant or water today?

[2] 1 Corinthians 3:7


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