I noticed it one spring day: a lone, bright red tulip swaying in the breeze in the front yard.
“Where did that come from?” I wondered. I’d given up planting flowers since either the country critters consume them or our stubborn soil defeats their efforts to grow and blossom.
Then I remembered: About 20 years earlier, I planted spring bulbs. But nothing came up – then.
I have no idea why, after more than two decades, that lone tulip pushed up out of nowhere. But I thought about what it could mean. Perhaps God was reminding me not to give up hope that the seeds I’d planted in service to Him would someday come to fruition. In this results-and-rewards minded world, it’s difficult not to evaluate our efforts by the outcome. I thought of all the children I’d taught in Sunday school and Bible Club. How many seeds had sprouted? Of the ones I knew, very few. Was all my work in vain?
The business world tells us to put our efforts where we get results. But God’s service is not the business world. I thought of the greatest seed-planter in the Bible. Paul wasn’t caught up in the numbers game. He knew what his job was and kept his focus on that.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm,” Paul wrote. “Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Give me the strength and fortitude to keep on planting, Lord, even if I don’t see the blossoms until eternity. Amen.