we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:9
1 Corinthians 3 [5.] Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3 [10.] According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- Co-Laborers with God:
Fellow Workers: The opening statement, "For we are God's fellow workers," underscores the intimate partnership between believers and God. It portrays a collaborative relationship where humans actively participate in God's ongoing work on Earth.
Shared Responsibility: The term "fellow workers" implies shared responsibility and purpose. Believers are not mere recipients of God's actions but active participants, contributing to the unfolding narrative of God's redemptive plan.
- Metaphors of Farming and Building:
God's Farming: The metaphor of farming emphasizes growth, cultivation, and the nurturing of spiritual life. Believers, collectively, are depicted as God's field—sown, cultivated, and tended by God for the purpose of bearing fruit.
God's Building: The imagery of building carries connotations of construction, stability, and purpose. Believers collectively form God's building, with Christ as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). It highlights the communal aspect of the Christian journey, where individual believers are integral parts of a larger structure.
- Implications for Unity:
Unity in Diversity: The metaphors of farming and building underscore the diversity of roles and functions within the body of believers. While each believer is a unique part of God's work, there is a cohesive unity in contributing to the overall purpose.
Collaborative Effort: The idea of being fellow workers implies a collaborative effort where believers, despite their individual differences, come together to fulfill God's purposes. It emphasizes unity in diversity and the shared mission of advancing God's kingdom.
Active Participation: 1 Corinthians 3:9 invites believers to recognize their active role in God's ongoing work. It prompts a shift from a passive mindset to one of intentional engagement, where each believer contributes to the growth and edification of the collective body.
Embracing Diversity: The metaphors of farming and building encourage believers to appreciate and embrace the diversity within the body of Christ. Each person, with their unique gifts and calling, contributes to the beauty and functionality of the whole.
2 Corinthians 6:1: "Working together with him, we also urge you not to receive God's grace in vain." This passage echoes the theme of collaboration with God, emphasizing the urgency of actively participating in God's work.
Ephesians 2:10: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." This verse aligns with the concept of believers being God's workmanship, created for a purpose and actively walking in the good works prepared by God.
Conclusion: 1 Corinthians 3:9 encapsulates the beauty of partnership and collaboration between believers and God. It challenges us to view ourselves not as passive recipients of God's work but as active co-laborers, engaged in cultivating spiritual growth and building a unified, diverse community. As we embrace our roles in God's field and building, may we find joy and purpose in being fellow workers with the Almighty.