Sow the seed and be encouraged

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Today a former pupil recognised me and came up to me in a supermarket and greeted me. He was with his parents, grandfather and sister and I know  they are Muslims. I asked how he was doing, introduced my family and spoke to his parents.

I taught him 6 years ago.

What I found really significant was that this young man remembered me as an RE Teacher (and he said that twice) but I had never taught RE at that school, and I told him, I was a languages teacher.

When I thought about this, I realised how often at that Church of England High School I had shared my faith with the pupils. I shared my testimony with my form and lived my Christian life in front of them.

And six years on this young man remembered that more than any foreign language I taught him.

You see, I had sowed a seed of the Gospel in his life. He was so pleased to see me, his former teacher, and God spoke to me that tonight He is going to speak to this young man. God did not forget about that seed. He WILL make it grow.

How many seeds of the Gospel have we sown in people’s lives? I have sown many over the years. I can’t remember how many I have sown, how many times I have shared my faith or simply spoken one word. But God remembers each one and He is carefully watching over them. He is watching over His Word to perform it.

Psalm 126:5,6 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping , bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

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I am so expectant that God is going to bring a harvest of souls! Those seeds that have been sown are going to start growing this year. Some have been lying dormant. NOW is the time when God is going to breathe life into them. Be encouraged, brothers and sisters and keep sowing the seed of the Gospel.

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Your sphere of influence

2 Corinthians 10:12, 13 says, “For we dare not class ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves , and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us – a sphere which especially includes you.”

We often talk about having a sphere of influence or activity. I believe God is saying that we each have our own sphere of influence in the world. We have relationships and people around us who form part of our sphere of influence. We coexist with them . They see how we react to situations and they listen to our words.

Paul was saying in this letter that the Corinthian believers were included in his sphere of influence. They were part of his spiritual responsibility. We are not responsible directly for everyone in the world, but those people who God has put in our path are our responsibility.

I am a supply teacher at the moment and I go into many schools taking classes when the permanent teacher is absent. Recently, I had a dream that I was standing on a stage in front of hundreds and thousands of young people. I have never actually stood on a stage in front of that many young people, however from day to day I meet hundreds of different young people from all backgrounds and all corners of the globe – England, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Hungary, Yemen, for example. At the moment, this is my sphere of influence and although I don’t spend a lot of my time in classrooms preaching (that would be unprofessional) I do pray in my own time for pupils God has laid on my heart and I bring the Presence of God within me into every classroom I am in. St. Francis of Assisi famously said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” At the moment, this is my ministry. It is hard work at times. But I cannot look around and compare what I am doing with someone else’s ministry. I have to be content with what God has appointed me to do at this moment in time.

Each person in the Church is a part of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the futility of the foot saying because it’s not a hand, that it’s not part of the Body. The Bible says there are many members but one Body. The eye can’t say to the hand, “I have no need of you” Similarly if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body” is it not still part of the Body? God needs every part of His Body (the Church) playing their part. A Body made up of only ears would be a monstrosity. Each part needs to play their own part so that the whole Body works properly. We need diversity in the Body of Christ.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ – don’t look around and compare yourself with others. Pray and ask God to show you what your sphere of influence is and what your purpose is. It may not be the same as those you are looking at. But be prepared to be the best you can be in the place where God has put you. You may be the only Christian your friends will meet.