Give Credit Where Credit is Due

1 Corinthians Devotional

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:5-9, NKJV).

I’ll admit it straight up. I like being recognized for the work I do. Affirmation is important to me. In fact, if I’m really honest, I have to admit that many times I do good things not because I have a good heart, but because I want people to think well of me and say good things about me.

The passage of Scripture quoted above has more to do with division in the body of Christ than it does with taking credit for work we do, but I believe it also addresses the underlying issue of giving credit to man rather than God.

The bottom line is that none of us are anything apart from God. This doesn’t mean that we should just sit there and expect God to work. Notice that both Paul and Apollos were actively working in the ministry God gave them to do. And we should all actively work in what God gives us to do, whether that be ministry in the church, going to work in a secular job, or raising children. The task itself isn’t nearly as important as entering into a partnership with God, and recognizing that any success we have is a result of the “increase” that God gives us.

For example, as I write these devotionals, I’m doing the work God has given me to do, but God is the one who “gives the increase.” God is the one who uses my words to touch hearts and change lives. Apart from God, these words I write are nothing, and totally in vain.

You may not see the impact of what you do. You may share the gospel with others, and no one responds. Perhaps you’re a parent and you’ve poured your heart and soul into raising your children to love and honor God, but they could care less about going to church or reading the Bible. Or maybe you’re working hard on your job, and just got passed over for a promotion, in spite of all of your efforts.

These types of experiences are painful, and may cause you to question if anyone hears, sees, or understand what you do. I want to assure you that God does. He sees all, knows all, and brings about the increase in His time and way.


Praying the Word

Lord, help me to do everything with a heart to please you, rather than man. I thank you that you love me, you hear me, and you see everything I do. You are a good God who will never forget me. Help me to rest in that, and to serve you with a pure heart.


Applying the Word

Don’t lose heart. Keep working. Keep planting. Keep watering. Know that at the appropriate time, God will reward you for your labor. He loves you and won’t forget you.



  • Kevin Cullis

    December 3, 2015

    Yes, God DOES get the credit, but we should not ignore that we’re doing the work. God doesn’t:

    Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My REWARD is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”

    Or God the Father telling the God the Son:

    Matt 3:17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

    True, God is the source of our success, but we are still rewarded for the work we have done in God’s name. To ignore our rewards is to ignore what God will give us.

    • Rebecca Livermore

      December 3, 2015

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes indeed, if you sit on your rear and do nothing, nothing will happen. You can also work like crazy, and have nothing happen. Think about verses such as, John 15:5, ““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” It doesn’t say that apart from me you can do a less, but NOTHING.

      As 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” This verse is a great example of the partnership we have with God. We can plant seeds and water them, but ultimately, God is the one who makes whatever we plant grow — again, our own efforts in and of themselves are worthless.

      Or Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Who builds the house? Not us, the Lord. And yet we are laborers together with him.

      So it goes back to the idea that our own efforts accomplish nothing apart from God — and yet we do need to do the work in order to see results.

      Thanks for the dialog. I always enjoy it!


      • Kevin Cullis

        December 15, 2015

        100%. It starts, and ends, with God, we’re in the middle. 😀

        • Rebecca Livermore

          December 23, 2015

          Yes, indeed, and that is an excellent place to be!