I Don’t Grow

I grew up spending my summers with my “Nanny” (aka my Grandma) who planted a massive garden every year complete with tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, green beans, carrots, green peppers, lettuce and a strawberry patch.  I absolutely loved that garden.  I would work hours with her planting, watering, pulling weeds and most importantly eating the fruit of our labor.

I miss those days a lot. So, on a whim I decided to do a little patio gardening this year.

I have two tomato plants and one red bell pepper plant.  Small scale compared to Nan’s summer productions, but I’m nonetheless excited about what I’m growing.

I watch my little pet projection like a hawk.  I water them daily.  I watch for any sign of insects or disease.  I monitor growth and salivate over the idea that very soon I’ll have something ripe and ready to eat.

I find myself starting to believe that I am solely responsible for the growth and health of my little plants.

Funny thing is, I do this with much of the tasks and activities that I take on in life.  What started out as a simple chance to invest in the development of something, quickly becomes an issue of entitlement and personal achievement.

“I planted the see, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  I Corinthians 3:6-9

Leaders are usually achievers.  They activate.  They direct.  They see projects through to completion.  They’re the prominent voice guiding a team through a project.

We thrive on accomplishment and acknowledgment.

And if we’re honest, we have a tendency to take the credit for what God has allowed us to simply be a part of.

From the passage above, most leaders play the role of seed planter, and we rally and lead teams that water that seed; but eventually the natural temptation is to take credit for the growth.  We invest so much of our self in the planting and watering process… we feel so much ownership, that the natural drift is to take credit for the results.

I know.  I’ve been there time and time again.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

I don’t do the growing.   Only God makes things grow.  Period.

So rather than priding myself in the growth, am I taking seriously my responsibility to seed and water what God has entrusted to me?  Am I being faithfully with the part of the process that He has asked me to do or am I focused on the growth and the results?  Am I more concerned with the beautiful fruit that I can show off or am I diligently caring for the seedlings?

How about you?

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  • mcadesigns June 7, 2010  

    Great post and great reminder! Love this perspective.

  • Blake Bergstrom June 7, 2010  

    jenni…great post. i am in a season of learning to give the credit away and allow others to grow something i planted. it is much harder than i expected. however, when we are really allowing God to recieve the glory and not ourselves for any amount of fruit there is so much more life to be experienced!!! thanks for pouring life into me and very rarely being recognized.


  • pete wilson June 7, 2010  

    Good stuff Jenni. That's a lesson I'm learning with you.