I Planted, Apollos Watered

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-11

Contrary to our Declaration of Independence, we are not all created equal. God gifted us differently and gave us different personalities. For this reason there are some people who are easier for us to reach than others. This doesn’t mean that we are exempt from trying to reach those who are different from us but we should have the understanding that some people are easier than others to deal with.
Not only will we be able to reach some people better than others but we are better able to reach people at certain points in the planting process. Even the apostle Paul needed help to reach some people.

Paul was successful in reach a number of people in Corinth but despite a stay of a couple of years he didn’t reach everyone. When Apollos came along, he built upon what Paul had started and saw more results. This doesn’t mean that Paul had failed nor does it mean that Apollos was a better evangelist than Paul.

Instead, there are two things that we should learn from this. First, we may not be the one to see the results of our work but are only the one who plants the seed. As mentioned before, it can take a long time to see results and several times to hear the gospel and understand. Apollos undoubtedly spoke to some people who had heard Paul but never made a decision while he was with them. For these people he was responsible for breaking hard ground, digging out rocks, or pulling weeds in order to sow the seed on good soil.

Second, there were probably people who couldn’t relate to Paul that Apollos was able to relate to. Corinth was one of the roughest towns in the ancient world and certainly what went on went against Paul’s Jewish background. Apollos was a God fearing Greek and although he wouldn’t have condoned the sinfulness of Corinth any more than Paul did, he likely looked upon it differently and the people looked at him differently as well.

The Big Picture

We as Christians are called to evangelism. At times we have been too narrow in our focus thinking that we must go away from home in order to reach people. Other times we have equated handing out tracts and going door to door as evangelism.

Instead, evangelism is a way of life. Our biggest witness is how we live in front of non-Christians. Just like we are not the same, non-Christians are not the same. We shouldn’t expect one evangelism technique to work with everyone. As Jesus tells us in the parable of the soils, people can be hard soil, shallow soil, weedy soil, or good soil. We must consider who we are speaking to in order to decide what is the best way to approach that person with the gospel.

We will likely be better at reaching one type of person over another. God made us different from one another. This doesn’t exclude us from being witnesses wherever we go however.

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