Paul’s first contact with the Thessalonians. His writings to them in 1 and 2 Thessalonians were very favorable, but his first time there didn’t end well with his having to get outta Dodge quickly! After being there for three weeks, many of the Jews and Greeks decided to follow Jesus, which caused some others to become jealous. They formed a mob and started a riot. Too late, though. The seeds for a new church in Thessalonica had been planted.
Don’t be discouraged if it seems that you are not having an effect. Our job is to tell the Good News, sharing what Jesus did and why He did it. Tell others about the change in your life. Our responsibility is to be true to that calling. It is up to the Holy Spirit to take those seeds that you plant and cause them to take root and grow. Once in a while we see the fruit of our labor, but not always. We cannot change the hearts of people. Only God can do that.
Sometimes we are not the ones who have the opportunity to cultivate the crop we have sown. God brings other people along who water the seeds, and others who harvest the crop. It doesn’t matter who it is, only that new lives are born into the Kingdom.
I’ve mentioned before on this show, but not in quite a while, my experience with my dad. I was brought up in a pretty good home, but not a Christian home. My parents were “good” people, but they did not live for the Lord. In all the time I lived at home, we probably went to church less that ten times.
When I was about fifteen, a high school friend of mine asked me to go to church with him, which I did. At this time I thought I was a Christian, because after all, I knew about Jesus and believed that He was who He said He was. But after attending my friend’s church for several months I realized that I had never asked Him to forgive me and really be my Lord and Savior. So at the age of sixteen, I did just that.
Well, I was so excited! But when I went home and told my folks what I had done, my dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was crazy to have done that. I tried several times over the years, even well into my adulthood, about God and why following Jesus is the most important thing any of us can do…and that he needed God in his life. More often than not, I ended up in tears because of my dad’s rejection of the Lord.
To be honest, I finally gave up. There seemed to be no way to open his eyes to the truth of the Gospel. And it was clear that if it ever did happen, it would not be because of anything I said. I didn’t want the hurt anymore, so I resigned myself to remain silent on the subject.
But I began to pray that God would bring someone into my dad’s life that he would listen to. For years I prayed that somehow he would listen to someone before he died.
You know, God is so good. Shortly before my dad died, a neighbor of his shared the Gospel with him one more time. Dad had become very weak and old. It was obvious that he didn’t have a lot of time left, and this neighbor said, “Ken, you’re not going to be around much longer. Don’t you want to know that you will spend eternity with God, instead of separated from Him in hell?” Yes, the neighbor was blunt, but that is exactly what my dad needed to hear. Just a few months before my dad died, his name was added to the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I’m not the only person who planted the seeds that finally yielded the harvest. My dad heard the message many times over his lifetime. And I don’t care that I was not the one who was there when he finally accepted God’s grace. The important thing is that when I am standing before God’s throne in Heaven, my dad will be there, too.
Do you have a similar story? Leave a comment below and tell me.