My wife and I have dabbled in gardening over the last year or so. We live in a duplex apartment so we are limited in our outdoor space to have a garden, but over a year ago I built a little garden box to plant some seasonal crops. This past summer we planted some zucchini, green bell peppers and lettuce and we did our best to position the seeds in the area that would give optimal sunlight. I attempted to water the plants twice a day and when the zucchini started to grow I reveled in what I had done. I showed off to Meghan some of the ones that were growing. The one plant that did give me trouble was the green bell pepper. I only planted two seeds and one seemed to be growing fine, but the other was barely making it out of the ground. I focused all of my watering abilities on the one plant that made it, but the plant was not producing any bell peppers. I constantly watered it and then finally it eked out one little pepper. Then the whole plant began to wilt and die. I could not get the plant to produce the vegetable at all.
At the end of summer I took out all of the plants and left the green bell pepper plants in to see if they would grow any more. I stopped watering them and I did not remove leaves from the garden when they fell. I completely neglected the garden bed. A few weeks went by and I realized that the bell pepper plant that was once strong had all but flopped over and died, but the once weak plant was starting to grow strong. I still do not water the plant and it is producing many bell peppers. The whole summer I thought that I had been producing the fruit and vegetables of my garden. Once I got myself out of the mix the one plant that started off weakest began to produce the most fruit. We can often approach the work of the church this way. When it comes to worship we can look at our own efforts and think that it is our efforts alone that have produced the worship. When we take a step back we realize that God in his good will has provided the worship for Himself.
When we take a step back and look to the worship that goes on every sunday morning at Uptown we can truly thank God for all that He has provided and for all that He has made grow. God has raised those who serve on the roadies team. God has provided the men who handle the sound team. We can often think of worship as something that happens seamlessly, but it requires many gifts from all kinds of people and when you realize this and see it in action you can truly give the glory to God. When the plants in my garden began to grow I looked at my planting and my watering efforts as the cause of the growth. When we see the worship at church we can think of ourselves and the role we may have played for it to come together. Whether that is our money, our music abilities or our service in set up, but ultimately “neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
Scripture: Ezra 8:1-36
Sermon: Thank God Who Supplies Our Worship