Last night at my church's youth group, the youth leader wrapped up his message with an alter call of sorts. He asked that anyone who wanted to know Jesus would come forward so they could pray together. I was slightly amazed at the number of kids that went forward, but as kids were continuing to go forward I began to wonder if they were serious or if they were doing it because of what others thought of them or because that's what they thought they were supposed to do. Looking around at the kids that were left seated it was a mix of church kids that are in service every week with their parents and the anti-conformist kids that only come every week to play basketball.
Talking to a friend and fellow youth leader after, he expressed his shared concern that the kids may not have had the right motives for going forward.
While it may have been a bit frustrating to watch, it made me think back to a principle that I learned in college ministry. I remember the Greek Intervarsity staff worker telling me that we may not get to see the true harvest, but we may be planting a seed that will bloom later in life their lives.
I have seen this echoed so many times in my short life. I have seen sorority sisters come to Christ, a Bible study that I struggled to get started grow and flourish after I graduated, junior high students that I mentored joining the leadership team in their high school years, friends that I loved through their sin and foolishness who are now married to good godly men and serving God together. It has been such a blessing to realize my small part in God's huge plan in the lives of people around me.
In Galatians 6:7-10 the principle of sowing and reaping is explained:
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Verse 9 especially gives me hope. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." If we continue to do what we are supposed to be doing and do not give up when it gets hard, we will reap a harvest. God is not promising that we will get to win that certain person to Christ that we have been pouring into for so long, but He promises that we will reap "a" harvest, not necessarily "the" harvest we expect.
Is there someone in your life that you have planted the seed in them and seen someone else reap the harvest? Are you rejoicing in that or feeling bad for yourself for not being a part of the end result?