May 21, 2018

Your Ministry Impact is Much More Than You Can See Right Now

Recently, I was in Canada sharing a talk based on the parable of the sower.

Out of the 4 seeds that were planted, only 1 produced long-term fruit.

At first glance, that could be discouraging.  It appears that the majority of the sower's time, energy, labor and effort was fruitless.

Do you ever feel that way?  That your impact is far less than you had prayed and hoped for?  That the kids aren't really grasping and putting into practice what you're teaching them?  That the take home paper you spent so much time creating for parents, just ends up in the trash can, having never been used?  That all the time and effort you put into pulling off that big event, didn't really produce any lasting fruit?

You're not alone.  We've all felt that way at times.  Or maybe even all the time.

Back to the talk in Canada.  After the talk, a precious lady, who had been serving in children's ministry for many years, shared something with me about the sower that was profound.  It has to do with the impact he ended up having.

If you continue reading the parable, you will see the end result of the sower's efforts yielded a fruit of at least 30.  Compare that to the 3 seeds that he planted that did not bear fruit.  He couldn't see it at the time, but his impact ended up being at least 10 times more than the 3 seeds that didn't bear fruit.  That was the minimum result.  In some cases, it produced 20 times and even 30 times more fruit than the seed that wasn't fruitful.

Here's the deal.

Your impact is much more than you can see right now.  That I can promise you.

Be encouraged.  Your lesson will bring at least 10 times more fruit than you can see right now.

Don't quit.  Your role as a small group leader will bring at least 10 times more fruit in the lives of the kids in your group.

Smile.  The time you're spending loving, holding and ministering to babies in the nursery is going to yield at least 10 times more fruit than you are expecting.

Stay faithful.  The time you're spending helping preschoolers memorize a Bible verse is going to produce 10 times more fruit in the years to come.

When we focus on the seeds that aren't bearing fruit, we get discouraged.  When we focus on the seeds that wilt under the heat of the sun, we lose sight of the ones that are healthy.  When we focus on the seeds that the birds snatch away, we overlook the ones that are flourishing.  When we focus on the seeds that are getting choked out by the thorns, we begin to think the effort is not worth it.

Someone is reading this right now who is about to quit.  Your focus on the seeds that aren't bearing fruit, has crushed your spirit.

Be encouraged today.  God is at work.  Your impact is going to far outweigh your effort when all is said and done.

I have a friend who lives in China.  He equips and trains over 83,000 children's ministry leaders in the underground churches across China.  They in turn, minister to and share the Gospel with millions of children there.

I asked my friend how he came to faith in Christ.  I was curious how he become a follower of Jesus having grown up in an atheistic, communist culture.  He shared with me that decades ago, a missionary from Houston, Texas,  came to China and shared the Gospel with his great, great grandfather.  From that one seed, my friend is now the 4th generation of believers in his family.

Think about it.  Over 83,000 children's ministry volunteers being trained and millions of kids hearing the Gospel...and it all started with one Gospel seed that was planted years ago.

I'm sure that missionary shared the Gospel with many people over the course of his ministry.  And he probably heard more "no's" than he did "yes's" during those years.  I'm sure there were times when he wondered if he had made any impact at all.

But his impact would end up being much more than he could see at the time.  And so will yours.  In fact, you won't realize the magnitude of your impact, until you are standing on the other side of eternity.  

I leave you with this promise.

So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.  Galatians 6:9

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