And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
I serve the Lord in several capacities – in this space, as an online missionary, as a pet therapist at a nursing home, in our church’s choir and in my day-to-day witness. But lately the enemy had been whispering in my ear, “Why do you go to so much trouble? It doesn’t do any good.”
So I had begun to consider finding new areas of ministry. Even my online missionary work had been unfruitful. I seldom receive replies, and the replies I did receive are often from people seeking what I cannot give – money, a visa, personal information.
‘Thank the Lord I am saved’
I had received several replies from one such disciple in Africa. Then one email changed everything: “Thank the Lord that I am saved from sin and u saved mi [sic] from evil.” Suddenly my efforts became worthwhile. How I wanted to witness that angel party going on in heaven. How I regretted wanting to give up.
The next morning I felt obligated to visit the nursing home with Churchill the wonder dog. Relatively few patients are cogent enough to comprehend the gospel, which I share freely, and I must reintroduce myself to many week after week. I also have a peculiar talent for showing up at the worst possible times – during random state inspections or tours from top corporate officials. So staying motivated can be a challenge.
A patient and a family member stopped to talk to me as soon as I had signed in, and I noticed a nurse – one I had seen almost every time but to whom I had never spoken – standing there smiling at me and waiting for her turn to speak. I knew this nurse to be hard-nosed and rules-oriented. Had I done something wrong?
The Power of Prayer
“I wanted to learn your name,” she began as she studied my name tag. “Mrs. Ferguson told me you came into her room last week and prayed with her.” I was afraid of what would come next. “And she said how much it meant to her. Can you please make a point of visiting her again?”
On my way to her room, I visited a gentleman from Puerto Rico, who couldn’t stop thanking me for the visit and the encouragement. Then a gentleman from India begged me to pray for him before I left his room. He kissed my hand with joy as I left his room.
Finally I arrived at Mrs. Ferguson’s room. Her friend pulled up a chair for me beside Mrs. Ferguson’s recliner, and we visited like old friends. Then I prayed for her, beginning with praising God for her progress and then asking for continued healing. “Thank you, Lord. Yes, Lord!” she said throughout the prayer. I left the home knowing I must continue my ministry there.
A Seed Planted in Good Soil
The next evening my husband dragged me to Home Depot. I was tired, maybe even a little cranky, and I really didn’t want to go, but I wanted to spend time with him (though why he wanted to spend time with tired, cranky me is a mystery). We sought an associate to help us find what we needed, and it turned out to be the same young man I had recruited to help me in June when I bought my husband’s Father’s Day gift.
At first he didn’t remember my face. I refreshed his memory. “I bought a smoker. You helped me find everything I needed.”
“You were here with your son,” he said, his face lighting up, “and you gave me a booklet to read. I read it cover to cover.”
I remembered telling him about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. I remember telling him I wanted to share that hope in exchange for the help he had given me.
“And did you pray to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord?” I asked.
“Yes, I did!” he said with a wide smile. I couldn’t help myself, so I hugged him. I’ll return soon with a Bible and an invitation to church. I’ll invent reasons to go to Home Depot even if it means leaving my debit card at home.
Lord, I’ve learned my lesson, and I thank You for that glimpse of glory. I am humbled by Your grace and mercy. Help me stay on Your path of blessing and remain obedient to Your will.
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11