Something to think about
When I was first civilly partnered, I was delighted to move from soulless rooms in London house-shares into our first proper grown-up house of our own. Before jumping straight into adopting a kitten, we proudly got ourselves a few houseplants to nurture.
‘Why do people make such a fuss about keeping houseplants alive?’ I wondered to myself. ‘This is no effort at all, and they seem to be doing just fine with a hands-off approach.’ Before long, my partner had to go away on placement for a couple of weeks, and left me with care instructions for the plants. My smugness soon wore off.
Most Christian work is unglamorous, and much is unseen. In fact, our alarm bells might start to ring when an individual is too greatly venerated for their achievements. Whether pastoral ministry, campaigning efforts, or practical service, Paul uses this metaphor to remind us that all work done in the name of Christ depends on God for its success. That doesn’t mean that the tasks of planting and watering are unimportant – as I quickly found out – but that we amateur gardeners are free from the ultimate responsibility for growth of God’s plants.