Have you ever had one of those days? When you just didn't feel like it? You look back over the days of visits, classes, meetings, Bible studies and wonder if you've had any impact at all? Is it worth it if you don't see many results?
There was a day like that here recently. It had rained...poured all morning. The place we should go for visiting would be muddy, smelly, the drains and gutters would be overflowing. The week before, we had gone and didn't find many people home, the kids we did find just kept running around and had no interest to sing any songs or listen to any Bible. The other people who should have gone visiting with us were nowhere to be found, so we'd have to do all the houses, just me and the kids.
We got there and slogged through a little mud, across a couple gutters, and there was a group of 7 or 8 ladies and girls standing in front of one doorway. They saw us coming and greeted us like long lost friends. We stood there in the mud for 20 minutes or more, while they reminisced. Some of these ladies we've known for years, some still come occasionally to church or send their kids, some not at all now. But they were remembering the days, when I only had 4 kids (over 7 years ago). When we used to come every week to tell stories and sing songs with the kids that lived there at the time. Sometimes there would be 30 or 40 or more. They remembered us showing a Gospel film there in the night, one that showed the simple plan of salvation for those who cannot read or write, and have no knowledge of the Gospel. They remembered me teaching them from the Bible in Sunday School. They remembered it fondly, laughing and smiling. One mother said to me, I'd never keep my kids from going to church. That may not sound like a powerful statement, but in this place, it is. We've seen many kids who have trusted Christ, but have to leave our church, with tears, because their parents won't allow them to attend. This mother, still practicing the Hindu religion, has a positive view of the church, of Christians. That's not to be taken lightly in a place like this, where religious tensions often flare.
We walked a little farther through the mud, past the goats, to a small room, where a lady had just delivered a new baby a few days before. As we stood there admiring the tiny boy, she asked my daughter, what they should name him. My daughter said, you should name him what you like. Their answer was, you are his older sister, so you have the right to give a name too. This statement showed the great level of respect and love that they had for her. Many of these people have not trusted Christ, but I realized that day, somehow there's been an impact. I don't mean to exalt ourselves or what we have done, but it's easy to forget the promises of God, in the struggle of daily ministry. The promise that His Word will not return void. The promise that He abideth faithful. The command to be a light and show the love of Christ. Maybe you won't see the results that you hoped for, maybe days and years will go by without visible change, but maybe...just maybe one evening standing in the muddy, trash filled street, with coal smoke swirling around you..God will send some encouragement..a glimpse of that impact..so you can take courage...continue to endure...continue to be faithful..and let the results stay in His hand..where they've been all along.