It’s easy to become “weary in well doing” during those long stretches of ministry when we don’t see any fruit. We know intellectually that God did not call us to labor just when we “see” fruit, yet it is so encouraging when He does reveal something to us.
I Corinthians 4:4-5 tells us that we should not pass judgement on our work too soon.
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
If we are doing what God wants us to do, then we are generating fruit, whether we see it or not. A faithless society and a faithless religion must see fruit to think it is accomplishing anything, but we set pragmatism aside when we step into the ministry roles to which God has called us.
We labor faithfully, knowing that God is using our work for His purpose. We don’t have to see it, we just know it.
But, God does have a way of showing us things at just the right time — just when we need that bit of encouragement.
I preached last night at Trinity Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. After service, a middle-aged man came up to me and told me that he had found the church through our church directory here at fundamental.org. He joined and has been faithfully attending.
What a blessing! What an encouragement to me, weary with traveling church-to-church all summer and fall, wondering in those quiet moments if all the work is worth it, if the late night emails and directory updates were really worth the effort.
The answer, of course, is “yes.” Even if I had not “seen” some of the fruit of my efforts, it is worth it. God doesn’t put something in our heart for vain reasons. He puts it there because it figures into His great master plan.
Our job is not to look for fruit, but to be faithful stewards in the work He has given us.