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Faith Encouragement

The Difference Between ‘God’s Part’ and ‘Our Part’ in Serving

CTA - Christ to All /Dec. 18, 2023
The Difference Between ‘God’s Part’ and ‘Our Part’ in Serving

By Gail Marsh 

[My word] always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (Isaiah 55:11 NLT). 

The preschooler followed his father into the freshly tilled garden. Armed with his child-sized rake, the boy did his best to imitate Dad’s long, smooth movements as he moved the mounds of soil to level the ground. But soon the boy’s arms began to tire, and he abandoned the rake to chase a butterfly dancing nearby. 

Then Dad announced it was time to plant the seeds. He showed his son how to push the seeds into a narrow trench, one by one, and pat the soil in place to cover them. Then it was the boy’s turn. Clumsy little fingers spilled seeds into the trench. Dad smiled as he evened out the seeds to allow space for each sprout to grow. 

In the days that followed, the little boy “helped” water the garden. As he did, he sighed. Not one seed had sprouted—not one—and it had already been two whole days! 

Do you see yourself in this story? As we serve the Lord Jesus, we imitate his methods, his love, his wisdom. We do our very best. But truth be told, we tire. We get distracted. Our efforts are often clumsy. We give up when we don’t see the results we hope for. 

Our Father understands. He really does! He knows we want to make an eternal difference. He also knows we are incapable of that. He gently reminds us whose garden this is—his! The harvest will come, but only because he gives the growth. He is the one doing the work. 

He invites us to help, but as we do, he reminds us, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus is the one who makes the garden of faith grow. 

It’s easy to forget the difference between “God’s part” and “our part.” We speak the Word. We show the Savior’s love. Then God gives the growth. He brings the harvest. His Word always accomplishes what he sends it out to do. Nothing can stop it!                                                 

Prayer starter: Father, give me the boldness and love I need to speak your Word and then trust to you make it grow. Forgive me when I . . . 

Editor’s note: This devotion is slightly adapted from CTA’s Making an Eternal Difference devotion book. To see all CTA’s devotionals and journals, visit