Read Mark 4:1-20, the parable of the Sower.
It can be easy to get discouraged when we are witnessing to someone and the Spirit does not seem to be working. Earlier this week, I had an encounter that restored some of my faith in the way the Holy Spirit moves in people. I have a certain co-worker that I have been “planting seeds” with. We were hired around the same time, got promoted to complimentary positions at the same time, and have worked together very closely for the last three years. This co-worker was raised Catholic but does not practice any sort of faith as an adult. Because my faith is important to me, aspects of it come through in our conversation, and I’ve invited her and her family to church several times, but I never saw any change starting in her life. One day this week, she and I were talking and our conversation randomly turned to Alexander the Great. She started doing some research into Alexander, and asked me “It says he was born in July 356 B.C. What does that mean?” I explained that means that he was born roughly 356 years before the birth of Christ, and she seemed confused by that. A short time later, she comes to me after looking up some other information and says “Okay: God, Jesus, and Christ. Who are they, and how are they connected to each other?” What followed was a one-hour discussion about God, the Trinity, Jesus as God come into the world, and his role as the Messiah. When the conversation was over, she left work with plans to read the Gospel of John when she got home.
All this happened after three years of me talking about my faith with her in general everyday conversation. As I was praising God for finally moving in her heart, I was convicted on two points. First, I have a very limited view of the world. God, who is eternal and outside of our concept of time, did not “finally” start to move in her life. He loves her enough to send His only begotten Son for her (John 3:16). He has been lovingly guiding her towards Himself longer than the three years I have known her. Second, I’m merely a seed sower. I cannot force the seed to sprout. Now that the sprout has started to grow, I have a responsibility to foster healthy growth. But I had no room or authority to get frustrated with God for not moving as quickly as I would have liked. We cannot see the way the seed develops once it has been sown, we need only have faith that the true Gardner loves those he has created.
Allow me to wrap up with Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”