Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who's keeping score?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Gardening can be frustratingly unpredictable. You do all you’re supposed to: prepare the soil, plant the seeds, then, throughout the hot growing season, nurture the budding plants. You baby them through late frosts, hungry bugs, withering dry spells, killing blights and foraging critters. You set traps for coons, hang aluminum pie pans to frighten crows and scatter human hair to scent off deer. Yet, when harvest time comes, you reap a fraction of what you’d hoped for.

It’s all about harvest. Who gardens for the sheer joy of watching something grow? Why garden at all if you don’t get the desired results? It’s a business principle: Invest your time, money, effort and energy on that which will bring the most return.

The same code is applied to Kingdom work. You think of the Sunday school classes you’ve taught, the Bible clubs, church camp, the children you ferried to and from Vacation Bible School. Where are they now? How many seeds have sprouted? How many are growing? Thriving?

Of the ones you know, very few. How disheartening! To think you poured your heart and soul into them and the blight of a morally bankrupt society has stunted, if not killed, their growth. Were all your efforts in vain?

Perhaps Kingdom workers get too caught up in results, numbers, feedback, the final score. But God’s business is not like the world’s. The greatest seed-planter in the Bible, the apostle Paul, knew that to focus on results was to open the door to discouragement. He knew what his job was and who was responsible for the harvest:

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

In this score-minded world, it’s difficult not to evaluate your efforts by the outcome you see. But God’s Word says otherwise.

“Therefore, my dear brothers,” wrote Paul, “stand firm. 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).

Don’t look at the harvest. Keep planting the seed.

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

* Can you determine the true results of your efforts by the outcome you see? Why or why not?
* What task has God called you to do?
* Why is the task more important than perceived results?
* How can you keep focused on the work and not the final score?

Special-Tea: Galatians 6:3-10

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