Thursday, February 21, 2008

One Plants, One Waters, and God Gives the Increase

Katie called today just as I was leaving to take Tim to his music class. She had been doing "outlines," an assignment where she takes a book of the Bible and analyzes it chapter by chapter. This semester she is doing Romans. "Mom, reading Romans makes me just fall in love with the gospel all over again." Wow. Who could want to hear anything better from her daughter off at college? And I have been pondering similar things. How in Ephesians so much of what God's great power and love have done on behalf of us, not because we were any good but because He is everything good...I have already blogged about how my life response pales so badly in comparison to what He has done for me. It seems that I could by now have done some great and amazing things in response, but I can't think of much of anything remarkable. I'm living what seems to be an ordinary life, in response to such a spectacular God.
While Tim was in his classes, I skeetered out the door and back into the car to pick up a library book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by John Piper. The sentences at the start of Chapter 3 hit the nail on the head: "Christ does not exist to make much of us. We exist in order to enjoy making much of Him." That's exactly right. It isn't that I need to have a tv ministry or a radio ministry or teach classes or be known by mankind in any way (not that any of these are my idea of significance, more a one-to-one kind of thing), but if only I could say I knew that I had directed people away from sin and toward living a life in Christ, I would think that then my life could show why God had chosen to do such a saving work in me. (Not that I need to understand this, but I sure would find it encouraging!)
Still, just the other day some people who had done missionary work were telling me that it's something of an American idea to quantify how effective one's ministry is by how many come to Christ through it. In reality, I know this to be true; I don't think less of missionaries who never see anyone come to Christ through their ministry, but I can only admire their faithfulness in spite of not seeing the fruit. One plants seeds, one waters, but God gives the increase. I know that the man at Boeing who unlocked my brain from misunderstanding to understanding about Christ's resurrection and ascension probably doesn't know I came to Christ as a result.
In my conversation with Katie, we discussed how it's easy to see how a person can think they've become saved all over again each time they feel the renewed joy of it; children especially seem to experience this, and it's definitely a dry time when a person can take salvation for granted. All the more joy, though, when we see the new life in a person who we've personally impacted!
I can only pray to stay faithful when I don't know what is happening in the hearts of those around me...any who I might impact in any way...and pray that any good seeds of God's truth that I have the privilege of planting might get watered, and increase, and spread further...though I may never see much of the result this side of heaven.

No comments: