For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.—1 Corinthians 3:9
A partnership is when two or more people affiliate together for a common cause or venture. It is a collaboration of assets, efforts, and skills for the purpose of making a profit or an important accomplishment. In business, many partnerships are not successful after a few years due to the lack of pre-established and agreed-upon rules of operation. In successful partnerships, there is typically a majority partner who controls the final say, outcome, and hard decisions. This morning, we are looking at a joint-venture partnership into which God has enlisted us. Let us consider this partnership referred to as “labourers together with God.”
We See a Protest
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” Paul began by strongly addressing a divisive and strife-filled attitude at the church in Corinth. This strife was the result of believers thinking that they were better than other members. Members were taking sides and saying that their group was more important than another group. Worse yet, these different groups were taking credit for what little they did, and did not acknowledge glory to God. Paul told them that they were carnal and spiritually immature.
We See a Prestige
“For we are labourers together with God.” Paul corrected the carnal mindset by letting them know that God had given them a prestigious role. We are laborers together with God. We did not take God into business: God has taken us into His business. God has made us His partners for the purpose of advancing His gospel and building His church. So, every member of the church is a laborer with God. There are baseline duties that we are all expected to do. There is a level of respect and mutual involvement with which we are to approach God’s work.
We See the Province
“Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Paul used two symbols to help us understand our partnership responsibilities. One is that of a husbandry, or vineyard. It has the idea of land where the soil needs to be plowed over, grape vines are grown, and the husbandry is expected to bear much fruit. The other is a building that is being built up. Our part in this partnership is to be resourceful and fruitful. We are to be available to God to bless and use us for His glory. He wants us to perform our part so that we bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. Our results are dependent upon our yielding to God, and God pouring out His supernatural blessings on us.
We See the Prudence
There is great wisdom in why and how God has structured this partnership. First, it points to the fact that we can do nothing without Him. Second, there is no success if God is not in control. Third, whatever is being done is all for the glory of God and never in vain. Fourth, God is the source of all blessings. Let us not forget that we are laborers together with God. There are those who plant and those who do the watering, but God gives the increase.
We See the Product
“God giveth the increase.” Every true partnership with God has God’s blessing. God is the master Partner as we plant churches, send out missionaries, and win souls. If we try to do God’s work our way, we will always see minimal results or we will fail miserably.
God has taken us into partnership with Him to build His church. Let us humble ourselves and be sure we follow His orders so that we can see the increase that He wants to bless us with.