A few weeks ago I shared a little about my prayer asking God to show me the fruit of my labors. It mainly came out of a place of feeling defeated and doubting my effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. But still, the Lord was faithful and He began to encourage me through various people who had no idea about my inner struggles, and slowly I'm beginning to see a little of the fruit in my life.
One of the ways He's been doing that has been to reconnect me with people from my past. For example, over the last few days I've heard from two former co-workers whom I've not seen in over ten years who each (separately) are feeling called to start organic church groups in their area. Both had been reading my blog and my books and asked me to help them move forward.
Then, on Saturday, Wendy and I attended a memorial reception for a friend's daughter who had died very young. While we were there I talked to several people from our previous church and one of them was a woman who drew me aside and said, "You have no idea what you've started." She then proceeded to tell me all about how she had first been inspired to serve the poor and care for the outcast while we were leading compassion ministries at that church. Then she told me about how she had been mentoring young boys in juvenile detention and in local jails, and how she had been knitting blankets for orphans, and many other wonderful things since we had left.
"This is your fruit," I heard the Lord whisper to me in between this woman's amazing testimony.
"See what you started?" she asked me. But I knew that most of what she was telling me had nothing to do with me, really. I put my hand on her shoulder and looked her in the eyes and said, "It sound to me like this is what you and Jesus started." She laughed and nodded her head and then she gave me a great, big hug.
The pastor at the memorial service shared an illustration about how our lives are like a tapestry. On this side of things, it looks like a tangled mass of thread; all jagged, random and messy. But God looks at the tapestry from the perspective of eternity. He sees it on the side that is beautiful and intricate, and perfect; exactly the way He wants it to be.
We have no idea how many people we impact in our lives, or how. Sometimes the Lord gives us a glimpse, but only a glimpse. We still have to walk by faith and trust that He is working everything out for good, whether we see it or not.