6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3: 6 – 9
Long ago I learned that people will check us out in September and October. I used to think that folks would come and take a look at the church in the summer—not so much, I found. Since our society seems to be in synch with the school year, it seems that as our kids go back to school, so will some go back to church.
I recently met someone who called me before attending a worship service. The person stopped by for a tour of our facilities and then we sat and talked for more than an hour. I heard of heartbreak and loss. I listened to someone searching for God. My friend came one Sunday and later emailed me, “I know it is highly unlikely, but your sermon today seemed as if it had been written about me.”
I smiled as I read the email. No, I hadn’t prepared that sermon for that person. The Holy Spirit did. The Spirit of God brought that person to this church and all God asks of us is that we do our best to plant seed, water it and when the time comes, harvest it. We are not asked by God’s Spirit to change, transform, or renew people. That’s God’s job alone and God isn’t taking applications for the position.
Four years ago, we had a Renewal Weekend with a chalk artist and speaker named Ben Glenn. If you were around in 2012, you might recall that Ben shared the Gospel with a lot of energy and humor. After Ben gave his message, he turned his back to us, cranked up his music and in the space of about 15 minutes, created a piece of art. Two of his creations from that weekend hang in Fellowship Hall and two more can be found in our Youth Room.
It so happened on the Sunday of that Renewal Weekend, there was a meeting for individuals going to Guatemala in July on a mission trip. A husband and wife who lived in Robbinsville, New Jersey came to worship that Sunday. The woman, who was then an oncology nurse at Capital Health Hospital, came for the meeting. She and her husband had no church home. They sat in the back of Fellowship Hall, sang the hymns softly and then watched, transfixed, Ben Glenn, the chalk artist preacher. They thought the same thing during worship and said it to each other afterwards, “This is great!”
The couple loved this church but a round trip from their home to New Hope meant an hour-and-a-half of their Sunday. I told them that there was a dynamic church five minutes from their home. I said that they would love the Pastor and the congregation. The couple found the Allentown Presbyterian Church and, as predicted, fell head over heels with the preacher and the people. The couple joined, as did their three adult children. God started changing their lives when they showed up here on ordinary Sunday in the early spring of 2012.
Some planted. Some watered. Some harvested. Those are good tasks but not that important.
God grows . . . new life, fresh forgiveness, and anchor-like hope. That’s what matters and that’s important.