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Workers With God

By David Tryon

    In writing to the Christians at Corinth, Paul described himself and his fellow-workers as “labourers together with God” (1 Cor. 3:9).  This is what all Christians are called to be.  We are not so much to work for God as to work with God.  All fruitful Christian service is the result of co-operating with Him.  If we are to co-operate effectively with God we must take the trouble to know something of the way He works.  Otherwise we may find ourselves working against Him rather than with Him.

    Jesus told a little parable, recorded only by Mark, which throws light on the way God works.  The kingdom of God, He said, is “as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how” (Mark 4:26-27).  What can we learn here about the work of God? 

The Work of God Starts in a Small Way

    A seed.  What a small, insignificant thing it is!  Surely no great work can start with anything as small as that!  Yet that is how God’s work begins, “as if a man should cast seed into the ground.”  J. B. Phillips writes, “Most Christians are affected more than they know by the standards and methods of the surrounding world.  In these days when power and size and speed are almost universally admired, it seems to me particularly important to study afresh the ‘weakness’, the ‘smallness of entry’, and the ‘slowness’ of God as He began His vast work of reconstructing His disordered world.”  The passion for bigness and for vast numbers can cripple the work of God.  The kingdom of God is not as if a man should plant a time bomb in the ground!  God’s work begins with a seed.

God’s Work Is Hidden

    “Into the ground.”  The seed goes out of sight, and the work goes on secretly and silently for many months to come.  God keeps much of His work hidden.  That is why God’s worker must be a man of faith.  Faith is “the instinct that can tell that God is in the field when He is most invisible.”  We shall not get far as workers together with God if we are always asking for the evidence of our senses that He is at work.  All God’s most successful workers have been men of faith.  They “endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27).  They “went out, not knowing whither” they went (Heb. 11:8).  God reveals but a fraction of His working to the sight of men.  Most of it is hidden, as “seed cast into the ground.”

God’s Work Is Slow

    “The husbandman,” wrote James in his epistle, “waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it...” (5:7).  We have to learn patience if we are to be workers together with God.  He is not in a hurry.  He inhabits eternity.  A thousand years in His sight are but as yesterday when it is past.  He is working to His own timetable, not ours.  He is called “the God of patience” (Rom. 15:5).

    Think of the centuries of preparation for the coming of Christ into the world.  Think of the centuries since while God works on in patient preparation for the manifestation of His final victory.  “He is waiting with long patience for His crowning day.”  We are laborers together with Him.  Paul wrote, “...The Lord direct your hearts into…the patience of Christ” (2 Thes. 3:5).

God’s Work Is Beyond Our Understanding

    “He knoweth not how.”  How little we really understand of God’s wonderful ways of working.  We have our own ideas, and try to make Him to keep them, and how much we miss!  We need to be very humble as we consider how far beyond our human understanding are the ways and workings of God.  We must bow to His sovereignty, submit to His teaching, and ask for His light and guidance.  Otherwise we shall continually be pitting our limited human understanding and shallow methods against the vast knowledge and mysterious ways of God.

    Here is J. B. Phillips again:  “I do not pretend to understand the ways of God more than the next man, but it is surely more fitting as well as more sensible to study what God does do and what He does not do as He works in and through the complex fabric of His disintegrated world, than to postulate what we think God ought to do and then feel demoralized and bitterly disappointed because He fails to fulfill what we expect of Him.”

    “God is His own interpreter”; let us bow humbly before the mystery of His working.

God’s Work Is Sure

    “The seed should spring and grow up.”  The results of God’s workings are sure, whether they appear soon or late.  Those who are laborers with Him may labor with hearts full of expectancy.  “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless” – doubtless – “come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psa. 126:6).  Harvests may fail in the realm of nature; in the spiritual realm they never fail.  The work of God is sure.

    “His coming is as certain as the dawn,” is an old version of Hosea 6:3.  Just as surely as we may know in the blackest hour of the night that the dawn must come at last, so sure may we be that the full results of God’s working will appear when His morning breaks.  His Word shall not “return unto [Him] void; but it shall accomplish” the thing for which He sent it out (Isa. 55:11).

    – From The Overcomer.  Used by permission of The Overcomer Trust.  overcomertrust.org.uk