Last week, a friend pointed out to me that maybe God’s not opening up the next door because I haven’t yet obeyed the last thing He asked me to do. It felt like I heard this message for the first time in my life! (Read about it here first if you haven’t yet!)
But as I wrote it out, I realized it’s a message as old as time.
I call it simple obedience. But for example, after re-reading that message before I posted it, I recalled Emily P Freeman’s recent work. She simplifies the same concept in her latest best-seller and calls it, “Do the next right thing.”
You know how, as a parent, you can tell your child something a hundred times, and then the neighbor says the same thing and a light turns on? And the child acts like, “This is amazing and insightful and they’ve never heard anything like it before in my whole entire life!” And you’re like, “Child. I have been telling you that ALL your life?!?”
I can’t explain that phenomenon.
Is it timing?
Is it the messenger?
Is that just the way Holy Spirit works?
Sometimes we get to plant the seeds and sometimes we get to see the seed grow. Other times, we get to enjoy the fruit of someone else’s labor.
Do you know your next steps?
Did you start taking them?
But did you give up because you didn’t see the fruit of it yet?
Heck. I’ve read Emily’s book and read a bunch of blog posts influenced by it too, and yet it’s like the truth of the message didn’t hit me until I was surrounded by piles of laundry and chatting with my friend about my writing. Does that mean Emily’s work and the writing of others didn’t affect me or didn’t matter? Not at all!
They were planting seeds, but nothing sprouted up and came to life until talking with my friend months and months later.
Some till. Some plant. Some water. Some harvest.
And we rarely get to know which stage we are in until we either see fruit or not. Then we’re left to trust the unseen work that happens under the surface. But if we easily get discouraged because God rarely picks you to be the harvester and often picks you to be the seed planter… it’s easy to fall into ministry fatigue.
My friend’’s message hit me with such voltage, I felt I’d never heard anything like it.
And yet, hindsight tells me I’ve heard it before.
And wisdom tells me that there is nothing new under the sun.
I mention all this because I want to encourage you and me both. The seed planting mattered. The seed watering mattered. The harvesting mattered.
There’s no harvest without the seed.
Don’t give up just because seed-planting doesn’t feel as rewarding as harvesting.
It all matters.
Keep taking your next steps regardless of whether you see fruit immediately or after a decade or after three! Keep obeying whether you ever see the fruit at all!
Here’s a promise you and I can cling to:
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up,” (Galatians 6:9, NLT).
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