For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
If we don’t always see fruit, why do it?
Why stay the course faithfully? Why even stand up for the Lord?
What if we currently have what appears to be such a small return for our labor, or nothing at all?
I have trained a good number of women in literacy, in-depth Bible teaching, and income generation. Out of all those women, there are two who are currently using their training. Only two. Others still love God but it seems (at least right now) as if the training was wasted on them. All the time, effort, energy and resources poured into them, for what? Why even do it at all?
When Jesus walked this earth, He preached to multitudes. Out of those multitudes, many rejected Him. Few were willing to count the cost to follow Him. Would He have done anything differently? Of course not! So why should we? Is the value of one soul not worth all that we have, all that we are? I look at my friend Angela, one of the women I had the privilege of training. She is now on fire for God, teaching from His Word (which she couldn’t even read before), and faithfully serving in the village and prison ministries. Her son and daughter-in-law got saved, and her grandchildren are growing up in the things of the Lord. If I only reached her, and God used her to reach others, would it not be worth it?
What if there was no one at all?
Do we do it for the fruit, or for the glory of God?
Do we want to see results, or are we willing to walk by faith even when it seems that everything around us is crumbling?
Far too often I look for results, even immediate ones, and I get frustrated and think that everything meant nothing if I don’t see them. Then God gently (and sometimes firmly) reminds me that I am called to walk by faith, to be obedient no matter what things look like right now. If I am living for the fruit now, then I do labor in vain. If I do it for something eternal that I can’t yet see, then it is all worth it.
There’s a song by Rita Springer that I listened to on repeat when I first moved to Uganda. Part of it says: “Around every corner, and up every mountain, I’m not looking for crowns, or the water from fountains. I’m desperate in seeking, I’m frantic believing, at the sight of Your Face, it’s all that I’m needing. It’s gonna be worth it, it’s gonna be worth it, it’s gonna be worth it all, I believe it.”
Truly, it is gonna be worth it when we see Jesus face to face, the One who sacrificed everything and endured such hostility from the likes of us.
Fruit or no fruit, we do it (live on the mission field, or train our children up in godliness, or stand up in a hostile work environment, etc) for His glory, and we do it out of love that flows from our relationship with Him.
So let’s not grow weary or discouraged. Let’s live for Him and trust Him with the results eternally.