Watering works!

Image result for public domain picture of watering can(5) What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (6) I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. (7) So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (8) The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will be rewarded according to their own labor (9) for we are co-workers in God’s service . . . (I Corinthians 3:5-9a, AMPC)

Planting, watering, and rejoicing. As I walked beside the pool, my hands full of mail, I waved at Joe walking on the other side.

“Hey,” he said, “thanks for praying for me the other day.”

I smiled, turned the corner and walked toward him.

“So, what’s happening? Do you know when you’ll move yet?”

“Well,” he replied. “I don’t know. There is a social worker helping me but it’s taking a long time. After you prayed the other day I’m feeling better and things are quieter.”

“That’s wonderful!” I replied, as the wind rustled through the trees, a flock of sparrows fluttered from one nearby bush to another, and the heat of the Texas midday sun pressed into my scalp and bare arms.

“Tell me about it.”  So, for the next few minutes, I listened, commiserating about dealing with large government agencies and the frustration of waiting.

The habit of planting and watering. I live in a condominium complex and make it a habit to get to know my neighbors and to work God into our brief conversations whenever I can. I had seen Joe for two years, waving at him and his two buddies every few weeks or months when they sat on the curb by the dumpster, sipping from tall cans tucked into wrinkled brown paper bags.

In early spring, I had seen Joe at a neighborhood drug store, and we had talked while we stood in a long line. I learned a bit about his background and current problems. As the clerk bagged his purchases, he turned back to me and said, “It was good to talk to you.” As I smiled and said “Likewise, Joe!” I remember thinking at the time “Joe may not have anyone to offer a kind and listening ear.” And I had thanked God for letting me offer a bit of friendship and concern from a fellow human being. And I had, of course, prayed for him.

Image result for public domain picture of homeless man drinkingBy God’s grace alone. Like three others in the complex, I knew he had some kind of disability and I took extra care to speak a word of encouragement whenever I saw him in the parking lot or by the mailboxes.

“There but for Your grace, Lord, go I. Help me be Your smile and Your voice.”

Today, as Joe talked, resting one thin arm on the fence by the pool, I was praying the same prayer.

“Let’s pray again,” I said, and I did, briefly thanking God for helping, asking for guidance about making decisions, and asking God to keep Joe in peace.

“Thank you,” Joe said. “You know, I think He listens to you because last time you prayed for me, things got a whole lot better.”

I smiled. “Thank you, Joe. That makes my heart happy! He loves us all so much and He wants to help us. He has taken good care of my daughter and me for many years and has never let us down once.”

We shared a warm smile before we parted and went our separate ways.

Image result for public domain picture of watering sproutsA little more water sprinkled. “Thank You, Lord, for that chance, for being able to sprinkle a little more water on those seeds You’ve planted in Joe’s heart. Thank You for letting me sense what he was ready to hear. Keep him safe, Lord, help him . . . “

As I walked upstairs, I pondered afresh the message of 1 Corinthians 3, that each of us who labor in the kingdom plant seeds and water seeds but it is God alone who makes things grow.

(5) What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (6) I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. (7) So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (8) The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will be rewarded according to their own labor (9) for we are co-workers in God’s service . . . (I Corinthians 3:5-9a, AMPC)

I opened the door, walked over to the rocker and sat, staring out the window. This month has been the hardest this year, with one problem after another—all in the stressful atmosphere in which our world is currently bathed. I paid out $800 for a fender bender that was my fault, I fell and got some interesting bruises (but fortunately only bruises), I got scammed, and the air conditioner had to be repaired. All month, handling fallout from those problems had interfered with the writing, which is a source of delight and great peace. Earlier that morning, while waiting on the air conditioner repair man, was the first time I was able to sit down and write for more than a few minutes.

Image result for Public Domain Picture Of Planting Seeds. Size: 142 x 106. Source: www.publicdomainpictures.netLike a tangible pat on the head. I continued staring out the window, into the glare coming off the building ten feet away.

“Thank You, Father, so much. That is a pat on the head I can almost feel.  What a privilege to help draw Joe toward You a bit more! What a privilege to be involved in kingdom work in my own back yard and in the middle of these problems, which I know are much less than what many are enduring.”

I sighed and scratched Lily’s head, then I smiled.

“And it’s an affirmation of the verses in Psalm 37 that I’ve been trying to memorize these many weeks now, especially verse three.”   

“Trust (lean on, rely on and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.” (Psalm 37:3, AMPC, emphasis added)

Thank You, Father, for giving me the opportunity to do good today while I, along with millions of others, take my place in the battle for the Kingdom and wait expectantly for Your deliverance in the midst of our present troubles. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Thank You for Who You are, for Your loving kindnesses, Your tender mercies, Your compassion. . . “

Image result for public domain picture of jesus holding the worldLord, although the whole world is greatly afflicted at this present moment, we who know You have hope and expectation because we, as did Jeremiah, recall:

(22) It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. (24) The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore, will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

(25) The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquiring of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of His Word]. (26) It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:22-26, AMPC, emphasis added)

Image result for public domain picture of watering sprouts

2 thoughts on “Watering works!

  1. Thank you for showing us how to use a contact to do good and plant seeds for the gospel. Also, for showing how to keep on, keeping on in spite of great disappointment and hardship. Praying for Joe and you.

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