“It is better to preach five words of God’s Word than five million words of man’s wisdom. Men’s words may seem to be the wiser and the more attractive, but there is no heavenly life in them. Within God’s Word, however simple it may be, there dwells an omnipotence like that of God, from whose lips it came.”
This past week, I must confess, has been one of the most difficult times for me. It is not because I don’t take pleasure in what I do for a living (ROC Recovery Center). It is simply because in today’s climate, people are hurting, and it seems to be getting worse. As I came home on Monday night, it was nice to be met with a hug in the kitchen as Lisa was preparing dinner, and of course, our two dogs were helping (not). I guess this greeting gave me a little more to hold onto, as if to just relax into her arms, and it felt nice.
That night, I sat on the sofa in my usual spot and sunk deeper into my recliner, along with my emotions. I could vividly see the faces of those today, and all I could feel was their pain. I began to wonder: Am I even making a difference? I thought to myself that sometimes I understand the pain because it may be very similar to what I experienced in the past. But for this particular night, it seemed like the oppression lingered a little longer. Then, I reminded myself of something I teach every week, and it goes something like this: If you change the self-talk, you can change the behavior.
So, I did what many of us do today – I retreated to Facebook. As I aimlessly scrolled through photos of someone’s dinner that they had made or another video of a sporting event, I was diverted by a new message icon light that alerted me.
I looked at the name, and although I didn’t recognize it, I decided to open the message and much to my surprise, it was exactly what I needed, although “Kathy” had no idea that what she wrote and sent to me at 10:37pm was the Lord working through her. Here’s what it said:
You don’t know me, but I just wanted to thank you. We recently moved back to Southern Oregon, and my path has crossed with several people lately who know you and have encouraged me to share with you how greatly the Lord used you to impact my life.
Many moons ago in the late 70’s early 80’s, there was a broken little girl and her brother, living in poverty in Medford. We had recently lost our sister in a tragic car accident, and our father left us, moving 2000 miles away. But through the church that my Grammy attended (Open Bible/REV Harsh) and her fervent prayers, we began attending. Our VW was always broken down, but that was ok because a school bus would pick us up for Sunday school. The school bus would arrive with a crazy, sold out for Jesus, red headed young man named Doug in the front. He would lead us in songs like “No you can’t get to heaven on a pair of skates because you will roll right past those pearly gates.”
You brought God to the center of Sunday school. The elaborate puppet shows, skits, storytelling, and fun songs burned in my heart, along with scriptures, God’s goodness and bible stories in a foundational way that has never left me.
Your enthusiasm for Jesus was medicine for my little soul. You helped me realize that in HIM, I had a reason to laugh and smile, even with a severely dysfunctional home life. The many seeds you planted in my life, by God’s grace and my Grammys prayers, have been watered over the years. God has been so faithful. I know my story is just one of many at-risk kids that you impacted for Jesus.
Thank you for answering the call that God put on your life as a young man.
Until He returns,
I must be honest after wiping the tears from my face, I simply said, “Thank you, Lord.”
That phrase, “the many seeds you have planted” pierced my heart, and at that moment, the oppression was lifted. Not because my client’s pain is gone, but rather, realizing that those seeds of faith – no matter how small they may look or seem – are actually very comprehensive. Within that seed, can produce a root, a branch, a leaf, a flower and like any type of seed, it needs to take time to develop, but it is all in there.
“I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
As it is with the simple Gospel of Christ, the act of kindness or perhaps a simple scripture of encouragement, lies within that seed much more that the human eye can see. Within the truth of the Gospel, lies regeneration, repentance, faith, holiness, zeal, consecration, and perfection.
So, my friends, keep sowing. We may not, at first, see all its results, but give it time because someone may be coming by with the water to help that seed along further to its intended desire. You may not see it, but it is all in there.