A Glimpse of the Harvest

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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 time teaching 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.

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 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 from index cards.

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

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.

Occasionally I’d take out the tattered prayer list and wonder what happened to those children. Two 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 23 years after I taught that club, I drew my daily Bible verse out of my basket of verses: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).

“Lord,” I whispered, “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. Afterward a man approached me.

“Do you remember me?”

His face was familiar. I glanced at his nametag 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. You gave me a Bible. You planted the seed.”

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.

More tea: Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 9:6–15.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. Used with permission.

Of Kicks and Crowns

The fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness. – Galatians 5:22 NIV

Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master. – Matthew 25:21 RSV

Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. … the Master you are serving is Christ. –Colossians 3:23, 24 NLT

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

“I knew I shouldn’t have sent that manuscript evaluation before the guy paid me,” I grumbled to my husband one night at the supper table. “Now I’ll never get paid. What do I get for being nice? A kick in the pants.”

“No,” he said, with a knowing smile. “Another jewel in your crown.”

“And what about that book order I sent on good faith that the lady really did just put the check in the mail, like she claimed?” I continued, ignoring his comment. “Twenty-two bucks may not sound like a lot, but we could really use that money now.”

He grinned. “Another jewel in your crown.”

I wasn’t in the mood to hear about jewels in my someday crown. We needed money in our checking account. My freelance work wasn’t just slow—it had come to a screeching halt.

I thought of all the books and bookmarks I’d given away, the hours I’d spent—way more than I was paid for—painstakingly editing mediocre manuscripts because I felt each author deserved my best work. I thought of all the work I’d done gratis—articles written, workshops taught, manuscripts edited. I thought of all the recent opportunities for writing, speaking, and editing that had fallen through. I thought of the paying job doing something I loved that I gave up because I believed God called me to write full time. And now doors were slamming shut in my face.

Weren’t you supposed to be rewarded for doing the right thing and being faithful?

“You know the verse about ‘casting your bread on the waters and after many days, you’ll find it again’?” I said.

Sensing I was on a roll and nothing he could say would derail me, Dean didn’t even nod.

“Well,” I continued, “my bread must have gotten water-logged and sunk, or gobbled up by fish and fowl.”

Faithfulness isn’t easy. Especially when you’ve done all the Good Book says to do, and you don’t see the fruit of your labors.

When you’ve trained up your children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), and they choose not to follow it. When you’ve faithfully brought your tithe into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10), but the windows of heaven remain shut tight. When you’re kind, thoughtful, and pleasant to people, treating them the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12), and they’re snippy, rude, and thoughtless in return.

Sometimes I get tired of doing the right thing. Of being the nice guy. Nice guys get taken advantage of. They get ignored, overlooked. They’re overworked and underpaid. And, like me, they sometimes become battle-weary and weak, vulnerable to doubt and despair.

We can give in or choose to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), remembering that “He who called us is faithful” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and will keep His Word (Isaiah 55:11). Even when we’re faithless, God remains faithful because He cannot be false to Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

These days I find myself repeating the words of Jim Cymbala: “Though in my heart I’ve questioned, even failed to believe, He’s been faithful, faithful to me.”

How can I be any less?

Dear God, I’ve poured my heart and soul into what You’ve called me to do, but, for all my labor, I see little, if any, fruit. I feel like such a failure. Help me to persist and persevere in the face of disappointment and discouragement and to leave the fruit up to You. Remind me that You have not called me to be successful, but to be faithful. Amen.

 Read and reflect on Matthew 25:14–46.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.