N.B. It's late, or early. Depending on what you call these small hours of the morning that only clubbers, alcoholics and insomniacs usually inhabit. I'm beginning to wonder if there is something about this place that stops me from sleeping...
Everyone's heard that sermon about reaping and sowing, and how sometimes those who plant seed's aren't always the ones that collect the harvest at the end of the crop. If you haven't heard it, maybe you've never worked in ministry. Because it is certainly a story that resounds loudly with those who sometimes get discouraged by doing all the work and never receiving a share of the crop at the end of it.
Of course, I'm not talking about plants here. I'm talking about children, young people... any people for that matter. There are those in ministry, (and I guess in all christian circles) who sow the seeds, and there are those who reap the harvest. I'm not sure at the moment who gets the raw end of the deal. I guess it's all on my mind at the moment as many of my children and young people, and others I have invested time and energy into, are off at the usual Christian festival weeks that dominate the summer holidays, and I know that whilst there many of them will make big decisions about their lives, maybe become christian's, give up a bad habit or two, or generally be impacted by the messages and atmospheres that are taught and created at all Christian festivals. And they will come back, and tell me all about how *insert name of Christian holiday here* changed their life forever, and how they now want to live for Jesus/get baptised/live differently. And in a small part, I am left thinking: "What about all the work I've been doing with you all year? What about all the times I've tried to tell you that thing, teach you that part of faith, show you how awesome it is to live that way?"
It's got me thinking about all those people who I never think about when I contemplate the journey I have travelled so far. There are people in my life whom I give credit/appreciation to for helping to mould me, but what about those who I never think about? They did have an impact on me, whether I acknowledge it or not. There was the nurse who looked after me whilst in hospital, my childhood friend Tony who I only knew for a year, the boys who called me names and beat me up in Junior school, the kids I played out on the street with, the various relatives and family friends that filled my life as a kid, and I guess as a teenager. These people had an impact on my life, and they helped to craft the person I have become just as much as those I acknowledge have. Many of these people will never see or hear from me again - never know the impact they had on me, nor know of the successes and the failures I achieve. And yet, the world keeps turning. People are constantly wandernig in and out of our of lives - and some of them leave more footprints than others.
And so, I may not get a mention in any testimonies/stories come September, but I will be the one to witness each of them grow, change and develop their faith for a while yet. The person that spoke that crucial word of change into their life may never see or hear from them again. But I will get to walk the next part of their journey with them too, as I walked the last. And though I may never be (in their eyes) the one who changed their life, maybe one day, down the line, when they are sitting up late at night contemplating the journey travelled so far, they may think of me. And maybe they won't. But then again, it is not the servant that reaps the true benefits of the harvest, but the Master.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
Galatians 6: 9-10