Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am God's co-worker (1 Corinthians 3:9)

When I was a kid, I know I didn't appreciate and I certainly didn't take advantage of the opportunities my Dad gave me to work in the yard with him.  In fact, I would typically do everything I could to avoid doing so.  Okay, I admit it, I was a lazy brat!

Funny how things change as you grow up...especially when you grow up spiritually and emotionally.  In my adult years I came to relish the chances to do yard work at my parents' old home in Pennsylvania.  No better way to spend a fall day!  While my Dad would ride around on the tractor mower, I would weave in and out and around the bushes and trees, doing the "trim" with the hand mower.  I'd cut back the bushes and hack off dead tree limbs while he'd watch and smile.  I'd find the outside work therapeutic and I know my Dad was glad for the help.  After the work was done, we'd both grin with satisfaction at what we'd accomplished, cherishing the chance to be together and work together.

Now I've got kids of my own who are almost grown up and pursuing their own careers.  One of my favorite things is to come up with some kind of work project around the house and get them to help.  And some times I think they actually enjoy long as it isn't too hard, and I give them plenty of notice so I don't totally wreck their Saturday plans, and it doesn't take all day, and ESPECIALLY if they get paid!  Personally, though the work needs to get done and there is satisfaction in hard work done well, the greatest enjoyment I get out of it is being with my kids.

Today's verse, I think, helps capture the Father heart of God.  It says, "For we are God's fellow workers (or co-workers); you are God's field, God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9).  In 2 Corinthians 6:1 there is the parallel thought as Paul wrote, "And working together with Him..."

The first thing we need to understand from these verses is Who is in charge!  God is.  We are co-workers with Him, but He's the boss. 

That old bumper sticker "God is my co-pilot" has it all wrong.  We need to get this straight:  God isn't interested in being anybody's co-pilot.  He's in the driver's seat and therefore any co-working with Him that is going to be of any value needs to be His work done His way by His strength in His time and for His glory.

Second, let's not be under any delusion.  God could do what He wants done much faster and easier and without screw-ups if He did it all by Himself.  Right?  I think of all the times in ministry where I have messed up so badly and yet for some reason God keeps on giving me more to do.  Why is that?

I think it's because like a good Father, God knows that we need to be involved in work that is significant. And by co-laboring with Him, He knows we will grow up and become more like Jesus and we will...deep very happy and satisfied.    God, I believe, gets tremendous satisfaction in watching us grow, and He is happy when we are happy for the right reasons.

Third, I firmly believe that it brings God immense delight to hang out with us and accomplish things together with us.  Beyond making sure the work is done, beyond the growth that takes place in our lives through the work, God loves us and the nature of love is to be with the one that is loved.

And maybe that's the most amazing thing of all...that the God who really doesn't need anything or anyone, wants to be and chooses to be with us.  And I don't think He'd have it any other way.

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