It was a little after 5:00 AM when I opened my eyes today and reached for my iPhone to see what time it was. Immediately I saw a message from one of Daniel’s middle school friends. Surprised to hear from this young man after so many years, I opened up my inbox to read his words. What I read broke my heart.
His mother came out of the closet recently crushing his Dad and leaving this young man to raise his younger sister. Now hurting with questions and doubts concerning God he was reaching out for help. “Why does allow God allow things like this to happen?” he asked. Feeling alone, angry, and conflicted I wondered within myself why he chose to reach out to me for help, since we’ve been out of touch with his family for many years.
You see, Daniel, our son, attended a Christian school with him, and we got to know his family a little bit. They were part of the evangelical church that was adjoined to this school. With so many other people, including church folks, in this young man’s life, why was he reaching out to me?
Then it dawned on me. Precious seeds sown and a living witness mirrored before people in years gone by are never forgotten. This young man had witnessed Christ in our family and how we raised Daniel. He had been in classes with Daniel and played middle school ball with him. He knew we were the real deal and a strong Christian family, and he saw a distinct difference in Daniel as his teacher had told us that it had been a long time since they had a student like him in that school.
He had also heard a message I preached at the school’s chapel when they invited me to speak to the students. I remember how choked up I was when the Spirit of God came upon at the start and I began to weep. It marked the teachers and students who were there that day. I remember brief exchanges and conversations I had with this young man and how Carolyn had befriended his mother. This all happened about 8-9 years ago, but here he was reaching back to me for help.
The message he sent me was magnified in my heart as I rehearsed the life and brief times we shared with this family. We are epistles read of all men. People watch us. It is important that our witness remain faithful and true – that people see Christ in us in whatever we say and do.
The encouragement and life lesson is this: don’t give up on precious seeds and the witness of the gospel you’ve sown into people’s lives in years gone by, especially in family members and relatives. They will remember you. Your life and words will continue to speak to them. In times of trouble, even some of those who once rejected you and your words, will return to you in due season and a set time and ask for your help. Of course, this is all the more true as you grow older for your race gets longer and your acquaintances increase. I could list many more examples of this happening in our lifetime where people have gone full cycle and returned to us, and are now making a demand on the wisdom of God in us, after having observed the steadfastness of our lives for so many years.
Our service of God is going on 36 years now. Many people have come and gone from our lives, but the memories we left them of the witness of Christ are like a trail that will continue to awaken their memory and speak to their hearts. Keep sowing those precious seeds of a life lived for God and words spoken from a Christ-like example. Water those seeds with love and prayer. Trust me, they will never be forgotten, but will grow and produce fruit for the glory of God and the salvation of men.