In my work as a missionary volunteer, it is important to me that I am “bearing fruit” and getting things done in spreading the gospel. But just like when one plants a pear tree and it takes four to six years before it produces fruit,1 sometimes I don’t see the fruit of my work right away, and that can get discouraging.
Throughout my 20s, I would go to the city park with my brother to distribute Christian leaflets and talk with people about Jesus. Most of those we met were students, though we also met people from all walks of life. In general, the people we would talk with and give something to read would listen, smile, and pray with us, but we would never see them again. I would sometimes wonder, Am I really bearing fruit? I had to take it by faith that God would work in their lives.
Fast forward to today. I recently went out with my wife and kids to deliver the new Activated magazine to one of our friends in town. Our friend is the manager of a restaurant, and he usually invites us to have a meal while we read and talk. However, when we arrived, we discovered that it was his day off.
The replacement manager was a woman in her late twenties. She looked at me and said, “You’re Andrew, the missionary worker, aren’t you?
“When I was in high school, you and your brother gave me something to read in the park and prayed with me to accept Jesus. I was going through a difficult time, but the message you gave me to read encouraged me to go on.”
I felt so encouraged. My efforts really had borne fruit in someone’s life and even came back around to bless me in return. I was reminded of the verse where Jesus said, “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”2
We may not always see the fruits of our works and good deeds right away, but the Bible promises that God’s Word does not return empty.3 If we’re obeying Him and doing what He told us to do, we can rest assured that it will bear fruit!
- See http://www.starkbros.com/growing-guide/article/how-many-years.
- Matthew 13:23 NLT
- See Isaiah 55:11.