1 Corinthians 3:9
“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
We Are Co-workers Together
“We are co-workers in God’s service,” that is, we the Church are partners in God’s Kingdom business of world redemption. Paul could not be more emphatic about God’s kingdom business. He refers to this gospel business three times here in verse 9. First, we are in “God’s service” together as co-workers with God! Here Paul is calling for unity of purpose within this divided Church, by encouraging them to see that the differing gifts all work together.
Paul says in verse 5 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task” (1 Corinthians 3:5). Paul is saying that we’re all “fellow workers” together with God! We all have been equipped with gifts and talents, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we are advancing God’s kingdom together. Apollos and Paul were to be seen as business partners in the gospel, and so were the rest of the members of the Church. “One plants and the others waters” demonstrates a synergy of differing gifts and responsibilities working together…It’s God who makes things happen, as we each do our part (see Ephesians 4:11-16).
We Are God’s Fruitful Field
Second, we are God’s field. The Greek word for field here is “georgion,” which is a word picture describing a well cultivated land, a fruitful field, a working farm. The life of Christ within the Corinthians were the fruit of the apostles labor. This idea of a fruitful field was nothing new. When Israel was in despair God said “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). If you’re feeling useless and unimportant to the kingdom, keep in mind that God sees us all as a well cultivated field displaying the fruits of righteousness! Let the Holy Spirit cultivate His fruit in your life, so he can show off His handiwork to the people around you; attracting them to Christ.
We Are God’s Building
Third, we are God’s building. The Church is an ongoing, worldwide construction site. Jesus is overseeing the Construction (Matthew 16:18). Paul calls himself a master builder in verse 10. You and I are part of this bigger picture! Paul told the Church at Ephesus the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22 ). This is actually what the Great Commission looks like in practice. The Construction is the making of disciples – brick by brick we are fitted into place.
We are Partners in Kingdom Business
It is so important to maintain the unity of the Spirit within the Church. Our fellowship together in the advance of the gospel of Christ, carries with it the idea of partnership, association, and sharing things in common. Luke shows that the Church exemplified this when he wrote; “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47). They were laying the foundations of this kingdom life that you and I are standing on! Think of it, you and I are partners together with God to conduct this same Kingdom business of reaching people for Christ, and helping them to find their place in God’s house.
You have been chosen as a partner with God to conduct Kingdom business together in the work of building His Church. In the Parable of the “Ten Minas” in Luke 19:13 The Land owner tells the workers “work until I return.” The word work in this verse is the Greek word “pragmateuomai,” which literally means to trade, and do business! The godly character that we display is our business card being handed out through our conduct.
Remind yourself that you’re chosen to partner with God. Be convinced that you are one of God’s co-workers, Believe that you are planted in a fruitful field as a blessing to others, Be standing strong on the foundation of God’s written Word. Fellowship with other Kingdom business partners, and Be Encouraged! -JSP