Some years back, I was blessed to be able to spend several months in Germany. While there, I often sought time alone with God. One of my favourite places to walk by myself was a quiet wooded area with a gentle winding creek.
One afternoon, with only a few weeks left in my stay, I wandered down this same path. It was March. On recent walks, I had observed bold green grass poking its way past dull faded leaves from the autumn before. Today, however, I stopped in my tracks and stooped to look closer. A tiny purple flower smiled up at me.
A few inches away I spotted another delicate purple flower, and another. Straightening, I marveled at the multitude of these little flowers scattered richly throughout the emerging grass. A smile touched my face as I took in the beauty of it. It seemed to me that the forest was coming alive!
Walking further, I tried in vain not to step on the delicate beauties – they were everywhere! For so long this forest trail had consisted of tired browns and dull greens, but now new life sprung forth.
Suddenly a sober thought hit me. In mere weeks I would be leaving this place which I’d come to love. I would never see the full bloom of this quiet path I’d strolled along countless times.
It was then another thought came, like a question whispered into my heart: “Are you willing to follow Me, even if you never get to see the blossoms that come from your labour?”
I stood still, a sorrow deep in my soul. I knew my answer was yes, but it would require God’s help for me to remain diligent. At that moment I grieved a little for the blossoms I would never get to see.
The seeds of those delicate purple flowers laid dormant all winter. Only as spring came had they popped up overnight.
In the Bible we read: “[Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 CSB
My role is to serve by planting seeds of the Gospel and watering where the seeds are already planted. However, it is God alone who can make those seeds grow. Whether or not I get to see the result of my planting and watering is up to Him.
What will this look like in my life? I don’t know. Rather, by God’s help I will follow Him, even when I don’t see the reward of my toil. I will trust Him to use my life, even when I can’t see it.
“But I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.'” Isaiah 49:4 NIV
Looking back through history, there are examples of Christian men and women who obeyed God faithfully for years before seeing any blossoms spring up. Some of them never saw the result of their faithful labours. Can you think of any examples? Please comment below.