Wednesday, 16 July 2014

God gives the increase

"I planted, Apollos watered, but GOD GAVE THE INCREASE." (1 Cor 3:6)  A good reminder to churches and ministries that, however hard you might try, only God can bring growth.

Churches and ministries can become obsessed with numbers; with having to buy a bigger building; with cramming the church to the rafters; with getting bums on seats and money in the coffers to fulfill grand ministry plans.

And yes, God does want lots of people in the kingdom.  Indeed, we can see Jesus and the thousands that followed Him as an indication of what can happen when things come together.

sorry I just had to put that in there I was saying.

Much as Jesus touched thousands of lives, see what happens in when things got down to the nitty-gritty:

And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” John 6:65-67.

Many of His disciples left him.  Spiritual success doesn't necessarily mean lots of people will stay.

Church isn't about popularity and its success isn't about numbers.  Church is about God and the people that God loves.  We may say, "Even if only one person enters into life it is worth it", but deep down we feel a failure if we aren't seeing numbers.  God, on the other hand, wants something REAL. He doesn't want to fill a football stadium, He wants to change lives and care for each person as if they were the only person on earth.

Jesus was less excited about the thousands and more concerned about their needs:

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. (Matt 9:36); And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. (Matt 14:14)

God doesn't see crowds, He sees people. He sees you and He sees me.  He sees the lonely person.  He sees the sick person.  He sees the one who just needs a hug, the one who needs food, the one who needs hope.

Of course God wants as many finding the life of Christ as possible, but it is God who sends the workers into the harvest.  Let's focus on what Jesus focuses on - people and God.  God will give the growth. God will bring in the harvest.  Our role is to follow Him and say, "Here I am Lord, send me".

These thoughts were prompted by the Jesus Creed article: Growth and its Mystery

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