Do you see what God is telling us through Paul’s letter to the Corinthians? I, Peter, ‘the great Apostle,’ may appear to be someone special. Yes, I have the strong gift of the Spirit within me. But so do you, my friend. I have healed many. I have preached mighty sermons. I have led the church. Some say I am the first Bishop.
But, and this is so important for you to understand: I am only doing my part, as the Lord has assigned to each his task. At times I plant and at times I water. He who plants and he who comes along later and waters are the same. So when you plant and when you water, you will be equally rewarded for using the gifts the Lord has given you.
If you never heal anyone, or you happen to never be present when a soul is saved, so what? Your reward is the same as mine, as you seek to promote the Kingdom. Just plant seeds. It’s not complicated to plant seeds. You don’t have to be a great Apostle. Just plant seeds of kindness and grace. Be casual and relaxed, yet be proactive and intentional about Jesus. He will do the heavy lifting. Since you are not responsible for anyone’s salvation – thank goodness – relax and enjoy the seed-planting.
People don’t care what you know until they know you care. Show them you care by establishing common ground. Invite someone to a meal. Listen to their worries. Everyone has them, you know. Be open to the interruptions – this is where ministry so often occurs. As you cultivate common ground with a sincere heart, you will be able to season your grace with salt … with words of truth.
Do not be afraid to speak the truth. But first overwhelm them with your genuine grace. And trust me, it must be genuine.
Preach sermons all the time with grace and truth, and sometimes even use words. Anyone can plant seeds. Anyone can water them, just by being kind, just by being willing to listen. Perhaps, upon hearing someone’s tale of sadness or fear, you could say, “I’ll be lifting you up in my prayers.” Or perhaps you could be so bold as to offer to pray with them right there on the spot.
I have found that a kind word is easy to say, and yet it often resonates in the heart for a long time as a soothing balm or even a fountain of fresh water. No sermon. No pressure. No need to bear down on anyone. But always remember this: no matter the happy front someone presents in public, no one can be truly happy without Jesus. No one. Everyone needs Jesus, they just might not see it yet.
What a joy if they saw Jesus in you, and wanted him.
I love the way Paul concluded his response to the Corinthians: “So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”