Years ago in Ohio I gathered a few couples in the home of a friend once a week and taught them the basic message of the Bible. I explained the gospel and on the last of the six weeks I had our hosts, Dan and Barb Donegan, tell the story of how they came to know the Lord. Kyle watched the children in the basement each week. Driving home after the last week I was disappointed that no one had come to profess faith in Christ but I was very happy to know that I had been successful at making the gospel clear. That was about nine or ten years ago.
Many years later, on the way home from speaking up north, my sister called. She and her family were in the town where I started a church and pastored for ten years. She said, “After church today a young woman came up to me and gave me a note to give to you. Since it will be a while before I see you, let me read it to you.”
The young woman, Julie Zimmerman and her husband Scott were in that Bible study years ago. Their son Zach was on my baseball team. Though they had not come to Christ at the time the seed that we planted took root and they are all walking with the Lord today. Juile wanted to express her thanks for my ministry and the kindness that Lois had shown to her mother before she died.
It takes a while for the little seeds of ministry to grow that will be gathered in in the Great Harvest of the Ages.
The Lord Jesus taught his disciples: “…One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that on which you bestowed no labor. Other men labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:37-38)
Paul said: “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (1Co 3:6-7)
Like a good farmer I refuse to be discouraged by the lack of apparent effect or disappointed by the absence of immediate results. I know the seed is very good and has life in it. And I am learning that patience is one of the most important virtues a farmer must possess.
John Piper has a way with words. He put this idea in memorable form: “The true usefulness of our (ministry) will not be known to us until each fruit on all the branches on all the tress that have sprung up from all the seeds we’ve planted has fully ripened in the sunshine of eternity.”
You never know what will grow if you plant seeds wherever you go.
June 18, 2017