BUV Devotion Part 5
Remember Who You Are: God’s Field
by Christine Wanstall
I grew up in country NSW, living in a regional town. Opposite our family home was the school farm. It was close to the high school, where students who picked agriculture studies could grow crops and breed sheep. Occasionally one of the sheep would get stuck in the fence over the weekend and we would call one of the teachers from the school to let them know. That’s just what you did in the country. I would watch the corn grow from my bedroom window.
The bible is full of agricultural references, particularly when speaking about God’s relationship with His people. Jesus uses many images that pick up this theme in his parables and other teaching. He speaks about soil, sowing seeds, a mustard seed, the vineyard. Imagery that is rich and particularly relevant to the people who heard his words but can also speak to us today.
I have been intrigued to read Paul’s writings as he also picks up the agricultural image.
1 Cor 3:9 “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field.”
This image that we are God’s field is a powerful one. The church, as God’s beloved people, is depicted as a field. A field has the potential for growth and fruitfulness with the right circumstances and care. Anyone who is a gardener knows that the weather conditions, seasons and fertilizer affect the harvest you get from a field.
We are currently going through a season where our identity as church has been challenged. It is important in this time where we have experienced the loss of meeting face to face, that we still remember who we are. This reminder helps us to act in ways that are true to our identity, recognizing that we may need to change how we are planting and growing in God’s field.
As we consider how we are growing in God’s field I would suggest we have a look at four things.
1. The field belongs to God
Paul is really clear in the passage that the field belongs to God. It’s God’s field, not ours. The church is God’s church and although He trusts us to be good stewards, God is still ultimately in charge, with a plan and a purpose for His church.
I love the statement “you are God’s field” because it reminds me to whom we belong. We belong to God. God is the generous and faithful God who still cares for us through every season.
2. We are co-workers
Paul reminds us that we are co-workers in God’s service. Even in isolation we are part of a broader community – God’s community. In this community God invites us to partner with Him and others in the works He has planned for us. We partner WITH God rather than try in our own efforts to work FOR God.
As co-workers, we can access the resources of God to help us know:
- What to plant;
- When and where to plant;
- What fertilizer is needed; and
- When to harvest.
Spending time in prayer, listening to His promptings and wisdom in these areas is an important place to start.
3. We should expect growth
As we are planted in God’s field we should expect to see growth both in our church community and ourselves. During this season it can seem easier to withdraw and just survive as church communities. There is a time to leave the ground fallow but even during fallow seasons, farmers feed the soil to restore and prepare the ground for the next planting.
We, as church communities, should be seeking to deepen our relationship with God, with each other and find innovative and exciting ways to extend relationships into our community. God has creative wisdom to help us grow.
4. We should inspect our soil
We should be regularly inspecting the soil of our churches to determine what action we need to take. We can do this through taking time to look at what we are do and how we are doing it, examining the quality of our relationships with God, each other and our community. Do we have weeds we need to remove? Rocks or hardened soil that makes planting hard? Do we have fences that protect our field but prevent others from entering?
This is a great opportunity to inspect the soil of our church community to identify areas that need restoring or areas that need to be let go. It is also a great opportunity as individual followers of Jesus to invite Him to show us the quality of soil in our own lives.
We can face each day with confidence knowing we are planted in God’s field.
Questions for Reflection:
1. Read the parable of the four soils (Matt 13:1-23). Spend some time reflecting on your own life, inviting God to show you areas that need weeding or rock removal.
2. Spend some time being thankful for being planted in God’s field and being a co-worker with God.
3. As you look at the ministries in your church, ask God for wisdom about where to expect growth in the coming season.
I hope you find this devotion and the reflection questions useful. We look forward to distributing Part 6 next Tuesday. You can also read previous devotions here.
BUV Church Health Consultant