“One of my neighbors was over last night,” Stan commented one morning. “We were talking about sharing our faith, patience with those we tell, and the need to balance our approach.”
“Balance your approach?” I replied. “In what way?”
“Well,” Stan said “he had an interesting story about one of his grandchildren that really drove home a point that is an essential thing for me to keep in mind with my faith walk.”
“Sharing your faith, grandchildren, and patience,” I said. “How did all of those things come together to relate to your faith walk?”
“It seems,” Stan replied, “that a few weeks back my neighbor was attempting to teach his granddaughter about how seeds can turn into plants with the proper soil, nutrients, water, and sunshine.”
“Sounds like a worthwhile project,” I commented.
“In the end it was,” Stan said, “but there were a few hiccups along the way.”
“It seems they had planted several mounds of pumpkin seeds. They had put some nutrients in the soil, planted the seeds, watered them, and planned to wait to see what happened.”
“So,” I said, “what happened? Did the seeds sprout?”
“Eventually, but several of them didn’t make it because the granddaughter kept digging up the seeds to see if they had sprouted.”
“Oh,” I replied, “I see the patience part. The little girl was impatient to see if there was any growth and her impatience destroyed the possibility of any growth.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied, “and that’s the part that is so essential for me, my faith walk, and sharing the truth of the Gospel. Too often, I think I have destroyed or at least damaged the possibility of the seeds of the truth sprouting in another person by checking too soon and too often to see if there has been any growth.”
“That sounds like a fine balancing act,” I commented. “Don’t want to plant seeds of the truth without checking to see how they are doing, but don’t want to check so often that the person runs the other way when you approach.”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “My role is to plant the seeds of the truth as God directs, or, if it is the case, water the seeds that someone else has planted. Then I am to be be guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit as to how to keep in touch with the person without becoming a ‘bother’ that the person wants to avoid. I am to be alert as to how God may be moving in the person’s life to awaken the desire to know Him. I am to watch for what God is doing and then join Him in what he has in mind for that person.”
“Be alert to role God has for you with the truth.” I commented.
“Be alert to never miss an opportunity,” Stan said, “but also allow myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit and His fruit of patience to stop digging up the seeds!”
Bible verses to consider:
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience . . . . Galatians 5:22.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those who planted the seeds of the truth in me so that I would eventually accept by faith your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you, too, for giving me the opportunity to plant the same seeds of truth in others. I confess that too often I do not plant or water in accordance with your will, that too often I am impatient for the seeds of truth to sprout, grow, and flourish. As a result, I may do more harm than good. Please help me in following every step of your lead to help others come to faith and grow in their faith in exact accordance with your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Before you became a Christian, how were you approached by people wanting to share the truth with you? Was that a good approach for you? Why or why not? If you have the assurance of salvation, do you find yourself impatient with others with whom you share your faith — impatient that they don’t respond the way you want them to respond? If so, what is that all about? How would you describe the “proper balance” between sharing your faith and turning others off by how you do so?