Monday, May 18, 2009

A glimpse of the harvest

Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

It was my first Good News Club, and I was so scared, my hands shook. Surprising for someone who’d spent years as a teacher. But this was different. This was teaching more than grammar, composition, and reading. This was teaching God’s Word and telling 25 boys and girls from my children’s elementary school about Jesus. This had eternal consequences.

I’d attended teachers’ training, studied the lesson, and practiced using the flannel board—and was reminded why I chose secondary education. Manipulating flannel figures at the same time I was talking was a challenge.

Woven into the Bible lesson was the GOSPEL: God loves you, so He sent His Only begotten Son to take away your Sin by shedding His Precious blood on the cross so you can have Eternal life. Won’t you Let Him be your Savior and Lord?

This was the most important part of the lesson, the reason why I hosted and taught this weekly Bible club in my home after school. God had transformed my life, and I wanted to tell these young people about Him so that they could get started on the journey of faith sooner than I did.

At the end of the lesson, I asked the children to close their eyes and bow their heads. Then, to make sure I didn’t forget anything, I read what I’d written out on index cards, which I held with trembling hands behind my Bible.

“If you prayed this prayer and asked Jesus into your heart, will you please raise your hand?” I directed them.

When I dared to look, I was astounded: Nearly every hand was raised! Later, I drew a heart beside those names on my prayer list.

Years passed. My children moved on to high school, and I returned to teaching English. A friend took over the club. Life moved on.

Occasionally I’d take out the tattered prayer list and wonder what happened to those children. Two had met untimely deaths in their teens. I checked the list: Beside their names, a heart. I had no idea where the others were in their relationship with God. I knew how powerful the lure of the world is.

One morning earlier this month, 23 years after I taught that club, I drew my daily Bible verse out of my basket of verses. It was 2 Corinthians 9:6: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’ve poured my heart and soul into so much for You. I’ve planted generously, yet I see so little in the way of results.”

The next day I attended a prayer breakfast for the National Day of Prayer. Afterwards, a man approached me.

“Do you remember me?” he asked.

His face was familiar. I glanced at his name tag and smiled. He'd been in that Good News Club. “Of course I do.”

“I’ve been wanting to contact you,” he said. “I’m a youth pastor at (a local) church. You gave me a Bible. You planted the seeds.”

It’s hard being a seed planter because you rarely get to see the harvest. Well, God showed me this harvest. And reminded me that my labor for Him is never in vain. Only in eternity will we see the true harvest.

Until then, with God's help, I’ll keep on planting!

Dear God, sometimes You just blow me away! You knew I needed that glimpse of the harvest. Thank you. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read 2 Corinthians 9:6–15

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