Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Matthew 16:18 …on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Acts 2:47 “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
1 Peter 2:5 “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
It is so important to understand that the church is God’s building! We depend upon the Lord to build his church. We are called to faithful and thoughtful labor, but we depend upon the Lord’s work to make it all happen. Day by day we ought to be his workers in the field but we depend upon the Lord of the harvest to actually produce the fruit!
We live next to strawberry fields. It is fascinating to watch the farmers doing many things to take care of the plants. But all their labor is only supportive of the amazing miracle that occurs when this small green plant produces marvelous red berries. As the old child’s song might have said, “Oh who can make a berry? I’m sure I can’t can you?” Only God makes berries!
This is very reassuring for us. In a way, when it comes to spiritual work, we are called to participate in something that we really cannot do on our own. The Almighty Father must do the heavy lifting. We pray that God will work deeply in people and we must trust him for the outcome.
To apply this directly to our local church, it is always the best to be reminded that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. We are clearly called to work hard for him, and to be faithful in the service to which he has called us, but we must always fully depend on him for the results. Our trust in him is demonstrated by our obedience to him. He calls us to love people, preach and teach the Word, and pray without ceasing. Remember the Word “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7 ESV). Since God gives the growth we are nothing! It is so good to be nothing while God is everything!
This also applies to individuals we love. You may be in a family where people you love are not saved. There simply is no way for us to reach into that person and turn on faith. There is no way for us to cause them to experience true conviction of sin and then to move into profound repentance and conversion. Only God can do to this sort of open-heart surgery. So, what should we do? We are called to lovingly present God’s word to them and pray pray pray!