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. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
In a culture where we stretch our time, money and people resource thin, a key word for many people and businesses is efficiency. Streamline processes, save money, save time, and best utilize the resources at our disposal. Efficiency is a great thing for Christ followers most of the time. God calls for us to be good stewards of the resources that he has blessed us with, to use them for His glory. But let’s be clear our God, and the instructions in His Word are not always efficient.
Last week I preached on John 4:7-26, and talked about the fact that our call as Christians to serve and work outside the walls of the church is one that is innately relational. Jesus shared the gospel with many people that he built a relationship with as did His disciples. I asked what relationships God may be calling you to invest in, to live missionally alongside others intentionally. I wanted to share a qualifier about our call to go out relationally: it is highly inefficient. If you tracked all the people you invest in relationships with, and live missionally alongside, it is likely that there will not be a high conversion rate; that is there will likely be more relationships that do not lead to lives transformed and people growing close to God, that those that will. Just like it was meant to be.
If nearly all relationships that we invest in led immediately to life change, we might begin to think that we are the power behind the change. Instead God reminds us in this passage that it is He alone that can change lives, and each of us are just one part of that process in a person’s life. So as we seek to invest in others’ lives, to live into the idea that out is relational, don’t forget the most important number: 1. As in one more. If God allows my life to transform many lives, I will be eternally grateful, but my heart is for one. One more life to be changed, one more marriage that will look different, one more parent whose relationship with their children is transformed, one more person who was far from God that will draw near and be transformed by the Holy Spirit. One more. One more is by its very nature inefficient, just like God designed it to be.