May 2

Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, declares the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:4 

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. I Corinthians 3:7 

Ah, it seems like spring has actually arrived this year. After all that snow and sleet we now have “normal” spring temperatures. And, for many of us we are ready to dig in the earth, to plant seeds, to mulch and water them. Then, we hope to sit back and enjoy the harvest, after removing lots of weeds of course.  How is it that we make those seeds grow into large plants? One little tomato seed becomes a big plant giving us lots of tomatoes, not to mention how many zucchini arrive from a few little seeds. Now, we can not do our job well, we might not have prepared the soil or cultivated it properly, we forget to water, we let weeds grow up and choke out our desired plant. Or, we can plant, we can water and fertilize, but we really can’t actually make that seed do what it is supposed to. The seed has within it what it was created to do, germinate and grow into the kind of plant it was meant to be. 

Paul reminds the Corinthians that he had initially planted the seed of the Gospel among them, then another disciple “watered” or helped them grow in their faith. One person was not better than the other, as each person has their role where they use their particular talents to serve God. Above all, it was God who actually was the one who made this faith grow, and spread to many more people. Just as it is our Creator God who made seeds that will grow when we care for them properly. 

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. (Psalm 127:1, NIV) God is with us in our work. For the people in Haggai’s time, the prospect of rebuilding the temple must have seemed like a huge undertaking. They could look at the ruins of their temple; those older could remember how glorious the temple of Solomon had been. They needed encouragement to get on with the task of rebuilding. This is pretty great encouragement – go ahead and work because the Lord is with you. That is a great assurance to have. But we do not all have the same skills. Some people have a “green thumb”; others might think they do not. Some have lots of monetary resources, or skills in building, preaching, teaching while others do not. Yet we all have something to contribute using the gifts God has given us. From a commentary by Matthew Henry, “Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarcely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours.” 

We all have work to do and it is so great to know that God gives us the assurance that He is right there with us. 

Lord, there is so much to do! We are overwhelmed by the need; at times, we are overwhelmed by the danger. May we be steadfast and faithful in our service, yet always remembering that success does not depend only on us. Remind us to depend on you, dear Lord, and when we seek rest, may we find it in you. Remind us that you alone are the one who gives us growth and life. In Jesus’ name. Amen 

Chris Gabel