So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:7-8
There was a time (very recently), when I tried to do it ALL. That’s right, I tried to plant, water and I was taking credit for the growth, if any. My intentions were good, but I had missed a key principle to life: I had not realized that I hadn’t identified my role, therefore, I didn’t know to stop when I had fulfilled it. I got caught up in the fact that it seemed like no one else was working, so I figured I’d pick up the slack, but it was way too much for one person. I found myself depleted and mad with God. He let me sulk in my frustration just long enough for me to discover the issue. I was upset because what I thought was God’s assignment for me, destroyed me. But I now realize that I took on more than what was on my job description and the harsh reality is, you don’t get extra credit for things God didn’t lead you to do. After all, Obedience is better than sacrifice.
The Savior Complex
It took me a while but I finally had to admit that I had it. My desire to help had reached the end of the spectrum where it literally hurt me to not help someone I saw struggling. I couldn’t think of any valid reason to not help a person until helping hurt me. It was rough, but God allowed me to invest in a few situations/people that didn’t have the same goal I had in mind. And that’s the thing about over helping, you tend to develop this expected outcome from your own perspective, without considering that the receiver may not be hoping for the same thing. And in many cases, the receiver doesn’t have a plan.
So many scriptures have come to life for me while learning this lesson, including “Do not to cast your pearls to swine.” My idea of swine was so narrow that I actually missed the stench of it when it was before me. I lost a lot of pearls along this recent journey but I have finally realized the value of my pearls. And that’s where the title of this post ties in.
I care, but I can’t.
I can no longer do more than what is being required of me (by God). People can place expectations knowingly and unknowingly and you have to know for yourself what you’re instructed to give in that moment. I’ve realized that just because I have it, doesn’t mean I have to give it. It’s possible that someone else is assigned to care or provide or it may just be a job for God. I had to learn not to intervene between the Shepard and His sheep.
It’s okay and even good to empathize with others as they go through their struggles and trials of life, but you have to know and stick to the role you play in it, if any. Either you plant or water, but ultimately God brings the increase. Never find yourself taking the credit or even being glorified by the one you help. God enables us to do what we do, therefore all credit is due to Him!
Sometimes in the midst of lending a hand we can’t see what the outsiders see, and it’s important to consider the wise counsel of others. (Hopefully, you have someone whose judgment you can trust.) So if they think you might be getting too involved, consider it and reflect, but most of all, Obey God!
For the Kingdom,