1 Corinthians 3:7-9 “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
Praise is a tool.
In the hands of the right person, praise can be the threshold for which many crosses over into the light of acceptance, encouragement, love, and fellowship. Withholding approval makes one wonder whether or not we have any value or what we do matters to anyone.
We all have within us the ability to extinguish everything that praise might accomplish. One critical comment; casting a pall on what someone may have given much time and energy to bring about. Personally knowing that that one took great pains to make what may seemingly be a small step to one, was huge in the eyes of us who walked with them.
Praise has power.
To see a face light up when words are lavished upon them for a great effort is rewarding both to those giving and receiving praise. Praise can break through the fog of depression and lift a soul to happiness and even joy. Praise can make strong that which the devil’s accusations made weak. Praise can bring the confidence to stand for Christ when knees bang together in fear.
We all seek to know that what we do matters; that we have some value to someone. All too often, we are looking in the wrong place for praise.
The principle of what the apostle Paul is trying to teach this carnal church should hit home to all of us. It strikes at the pride that beats in the breast of every human being.
To some degree, we all have pride.
How we face it, how we deal with our pride is something of great importance, and this passage is the culmination of Paul admonishing the Corinthian church for bragging on the work that God was doing in and through them.
1 Corinthians 3:4-5 “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”
These passages uncover that the view they held of man was devoid of the work that God had performed in and through Paul and Apollos. It was causing strife and division and had Satan’s fingerprints all over it.
When we get saved, and God begins to utilize our abilities, gifts, and talents, we start to see success where we were met with failure. Without a proper perspective, I will begin to think it was by my hand that these things came about. Paul cut to the heart of the matter.
“…For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
God takes what we’ve been given and maximizes its usage for the highest good. Anyone who has worked with tools acknowledges that the right tool for the right job will accomplish the task in a timely fashion. A shoe is not a hammer. It may complete the work, but not without damage to the shoe and taking twice as long as what the right tool could do.
When you and I are used to doing what we were created to do, we begin to see God’s purpose through us. Utilizing our gifts and talents for the Lord allows us to take part in the miraculous.
I can be the most persuasive salesman for God and get a soul to come to the threshold of salvation. But it is solely the decision of that one to cross by faith, and the conviction brought about by the Holy Spirit of God. The indwelling Spirit of God is Who we brought to the meeting. It is He that draws them. It is the Word of God that He sheds the light of understanding for them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
All are tools in the hand of the Great Master-builder. You and I are only a part.
If you have ever worked on a farm, in a garden, or just took care of plants; you understand the need for the right tools and hands that know just what to do. I have accepted that I cannot do what many others do. But I do know what God has given me to do and found that He has equipped me to do more than I could ever do in the flesh.
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
And we also find:
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Outside of the fact that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, there is nothing in me that is what God calls good. Add to that the thoughts that run through my mind cannot be trusted outside of the Word of God. Put it all together, and we see that following the Holy Spirit and His leading will be right every time.
To point – giving God the praise for all things done in and through us is excellent and right to do – always… all the time… for everything.