“For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos’ are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:3-7
Ladies, forgive me if I’ve said this before. I can’t seem to remember yesterday from today, so much is happening in Trotterville right now; however I don’t think there could ever be enough blog posts, sermons preached, books written and thoughts shared on our absolute soul poverty without the radical Love of Jesus. We are NOTHING compared to His limitless love. We are considered sluggards compared to His matchless energy and strength. His peace, mercy and compassion do not yield, slow down, let up or run out.
We are human. He is God. Period.
“God doesn’t need you and me to do his work. We are expedient messengers, ambassadors by his kindness, not by our cleverness. It’s not about us….And we entrusted with the gospel dare not seek applause but best deflect applause. For our message is about Someone else.” –Max Lucado, It’s Not About Me
I love what Paul says in 1 Corinthians when he is holding the church accountable as they seek to prioritize their “favorite church leader”. He basically says, “Who cares?! So I planted it and then my buddy here, Apollos watered it. It’s of no consequence because God is the ONLY one who has the power to make it grow.”
It’s so very liberating to know and understand that we are merely empty vessels that just have to submit and receive the complete awesomeness of Christ. He will fill us with all HE needs to do HIS work.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the Lord said to me,
Do not say, I am only a youth; for all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant…..I am watching over my word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 12
It wasn’t about Jeremiah, it wasn’t about the work…..it’s about God. He is the only one capable of carrying out His plan and He is watching over it as it is performed. I love what John says in John 1:6-8 “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”
You and I are NOT the light. We’re just here to bear witness about the Light.
Your intellect, your patience, your physical abilities, your schedule, your plan, your commitment level, your compassion, hope, faith, bank account, willingness, experiences, understanding, availability,……it will all run out. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 The King NEVER runs out of goodness and peace and reassurance and unfailing love and compassion.
The title of Isaiah 45 in my ESV Study Bible is perfect for what I’m talking about today – Cyrus, God’s Instrument.
“Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to lose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed; I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name; I name you, and through you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, through you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have created it.
Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles?’ Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’
Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him; Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. I have stirred him up in righteousness, and I will make all his ways level; he shall build my city and set my exiles free not for a price or reward,” says the Lord of hosts”
Absolutely astounding. He doesn’t have to use us, and yet He wants to. He calls us by name, shares His heart with us and offers us the opportunity, to not only take part in the offering, but be ambassadors in telling others about it. Better still all we have to do is be submitted and keep pointing back to Him. It’s like the best gig ever. We are the clay and He is the Potter. We are merely His instruments. I don’t know about you, but there could be no greater title in life for me than that. Cari, God’s Instrument. The Lord of hosts calls me by name and sends me out to be a carrier of the Light. Ladies, I am overwhelmed yet again by Christ’s unbelievable mercy in naming me His daughter and then letting me involved in the conversation (Isaiah 6:1-8).
I hope I never get over it.