CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 8, 2023 – The strangest thing is, I don’t remember saying it. I mean, I must have said it, otherwise this person wouldn’t have told me how much it meant to her and how it made her look at her situation differently. I must have said it; I just don’t remember saying it.
This is how it is sometimes when you minister to people. You have no idea what will stick and what won’t, what will sprout and what won’t, what will mean something to someone and what won’t. The funny thing is that when you think you’ve said something that will resonate, you find that no-one paid any attention.
But God did. God hears everything you say and he sees everything you do. So everything you say and everything you do he can work with to your credit. He can use your unwitting labour to tend his fields, and then reward you with the fruit.
Sometimes you’re just throwing seeds to the wind, not knowing if even one of them will eventually sprout. But you have to do it; you have to sow your seeds into the cold dark silent earth, praying for rain, praying for heat and sunlight, praying that something eventually will grow. You have to do it because it’s your job description as a born-again believer. And strangely, the more you do it, the more you find you can’t not do it.
It’s a great mystery, sowing into God’s Kingdom. Jesus told us to go out into all the world and preach the Good News, so here we are, going out into all the world (mostly via the Internet) and preaching the Good News. But who knows who’ll hear us, who’ll read us, and most of all, who knows what will stick, what will sprout, and what will grow roots deep enough to endure to the end?
Sometimes I think about my labours thus far in the Kingdom – 24 years’ worth – and all I see is someone dropping seeds hither, thither, and yon. Dropping seeds and hoping and praying. But that’s our job. God only expects us to do our job, nothing more. If we do our job (dropping seeds hither, thither, and yon), God can take it from there. He can take our most bizarre and unlikely seed-sowing effort and turn it into a conversion, like a mustard seed turns into a bush as big as a tree. We just never know what will sprout. That’s the wonderful part about it – never knowing the impact our words and deeds have on others, because it’s not our efforts doing the impacting, it’s God moving through them in his mysterious way.
I’m not a fan of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” (horrible depiction of a holy angel!), but I like the part where Jimmy Stewart’s character finds out how much he’s positively impacted people’s lives. He’d just stumbled through his days like most of us do, trying his best to do his best under whatever circumstance, never realizing (until he does) how important his humble contributions have been to the lives of his family, his friends, his colleagues, his community, and beyond.
If he hadn’t had the spiritual crisis that formed the fulcrum of the movie, he may never have found out how big his mustard bush was.
So we need to keep on keepin’ on with our ministering, whatever form it takes, knowing that as long as we do our part (sow the seeds), God will do the rest (water them, germinate them, sprout them, tend them, etc.). We need to have faith and keep going, even if we see no discernible fruit from our efforts.
Because at some point, someone’s going to come up to you and thank you for what you said to them, and you won’t have a clue what they’re talking about, even as you nod and smile. And when that happens, you’ll know that God did his mysterious ways thing again but is giving you all the credit, and that of all the seeds that you sowed over all the years, at least one sprouted.
And that has made all the difference.