When I was first planting a church, I did a lot of knocking on doors in the neighborhood where I was serving. I wanted to get to know the people and find out what was important to them in a church. I remember one particular family I met that way, and I probably worked harder with them than with anyone else. I visited again, built a relationship, had repeated contact, prayed—I may have even fasted a bit. I could see them as being very reachable, but for some reason it just never happened.
I went back to an anniversary celebration of the planting of that church—I think it was the 15th or 20th anniversary—I had already left my pastoral position at the church some years before. The celebration was at a park with a natural outdoor amphitheater. And I saw this family, with their kids now grown, sitting in the center of the front row. They were there. One of the kids had gone off to college, become a Christian, come back, and shared with the rest of the family. They then got connected to the very same church I had originally planted in their neighborhood.
I am so grateful God allowed me to see that. He doesn’t always. Sometimes in ministry we really don’t get to see the fruit with our own eyes, but we can trust that God is still at work. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).