I'm posting a bit earlier in the day than usual so you can jump on a limited-time opportunity to see two of my favorite Christian authors in a replay of a Webcast they aired last night. From noon today (Wednesday, 9/7/11) through the end of tomorrow (ET?), you can tune in to learn from Lysa TerKeurst and Ann Voskamp about saying yes to God. And really, who can't benefit from a reinforcement of that message?
Sometimes God asks us to do something that is simple or fun or easy. Other times, the clouds roll in. Excuses mount up. Our daily to-do lists to trump what God has called us to do. Sometimes, saying yes to God can mean a long, long wait to see results, and that can be truly frustrating.
I'm in the midst of an obedience test from God, and at times, I want to give up and try something else. After all, if I'm following God's call, shouldn't I see immediate, fabulous outcomes? No, not always. I had a great reminder of that when I opened my church bulletin this past Sunday (thanks, Rumple Memorial), and I'd like to share it with you:
"No ray of sunshine is ever lost but the green which it awakens needs time to sprout, and it is not always given the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." -- Albert Schweitzer
Wow. I have read that a number of times since Sunday morning, and each time, it stops me in my tracks. No, wait. It doesn't stop me. It moves me along the tracks.
What a beautiful encouragement of the work we undertake in faithful response to God's call. None of it is lost, and all of it is worth doing.
The sunshine stirs the seed of something green and causes it to begin to grow. But not all seeds act like Jack's magic beanstalk, growing to touch the sky overnight. Just as the seed takes time to mature into a tree, our work -- and its effects -- can take time, as well.
Our culture prioritizes immediate gratification, and so it's hard to imagine working hard for an outcome that takes a long time to materialize. What's even harder to grasp, though, is that we may not even live to see the effects of our work.
Schweitzer reminds us that the harvest isn't necessarily the sower's responsibility. The sower is called to sow, as we are called to work. God will harvest and use the work of our hands as He intends. And whether we ever celebrate the bounty of that harvest is entirely up to Him. Instead of the promise of joy at harvest time, we should hold on to the promise and joy of worthy work. Work not wasted.
Think about frustrations you may be experiencing. How many of those stem from an impatience to see the final outcome? What about the sneaking suspicion that your work is a waste of time? I hope you'll take comfort in Schweitzer's message about the ray of sunshine and the work you're doing in faith.
Now, if you'll excuse me ... I have a Webcast to watch because every time God calls me to obedience, I want to say "yes" ... and actually mean it. Join me?