It Takes Time
By Maria Fontaine
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There’s nothing more wonderful than life with Jesus! It’s incredibly fulfilling and rewarding to invest our time and energies in our mission of reaching others with His message and bringing them His love and salvation. The witness that the Family International gives overall, which is the sum of each individual’s witness, is powerful.
There are times and situations when it’s easier to be the witness that the Lord needs you to be, and times and situations when it’s more difficult. It can be challenging to share the Lord’s message and spiritual truths with those around you in your everyday life in the workplace, or school or university. Witnessing to strangers is one thing; that has its own challenges. But sometimes being a witness is even tougher when it comes to those you’re closer to, in particular your family, friends, or co-workers.
Most of us probably have people in our lives who aren’t easy to witness to. Some of you are in pretty tough circumstances, where someone who is particularly close to you isn’t supportive of your beliefs and choices—and some of you might even have many friends, acquaintances, and relatives who feel this way toward you.
I pray that the Lord and His Word will provide all the insight, strength, and guidance that will benefit you and those you love in being an example of your faith and a witness to those in your circle who may not yet be receptive to the message.
Expectations for quick results
We often expect quick results in our witnessing and discipling of people. We can be tempted to think it all should be zip, zap, abracadabra, and it’s done. This quick-results attitude contributes to having a lack of patience, and even a lack of diligence and faithfulness. It’s good that we get some quick, miraculous results, but when we don’t get them, we can be tempted to think something’s wrong or get impatient, disappointed, discouraged, frustrated, and condemned.
I grew up in the church hearing of wives who prayed for their husbands to get saved for years and years. Or you hear of someone praying for years for a wayward relative to get saved, and then on their deathbed the person would get saved. Many Christians figure if you’re going to pray for somebody to get saved, then you should pray and pray and pray until that person comes to know and accept the Lord.
But we haven’t tended to look at things that way. We’ve often been reapers much more than sowers. We’ve been used to reaping, bringing in the harvest, picking the fruit, but we’ve not been so used to sowing and cultivating and nurturing. So when we have to do some sowing and tending, we can grow impatient and not be so diligent or faithful sometimes, because we want quick results.
When things don’t move as quickly as we’re used to or our efforts don’t bear visible fruit right away, we shouldn’t get impatient, frustrated, condemned, worried, or feel that something’s not right or not working right. Because not everything moves as fast as we’re used to, nor is it supposed to.
Often, when we don’t get healed miraculously or healed quickly in a day or two, we question the Lord. “Something must be wrong with me, Lord.” Or, “Something’s wrong with our prayers; something’s wrong somewhere.” Sometimes the Lord might be trying to get through to you about something, and it’s good to ask that question, but if you’ve asked it and you haven’t found anything wrong, maybe nothing is wrong; or maybe the Lord is testing your faith.
We’re living in a time of great speed and acceleration and we want to accomplish so much, and we feel we’ve got to get everything done right now because time is short. That’s not a bad attitude in some ways, because it’s true; the Lord does want us to redeem the time and to get a lot done. But we need to realize that the Lord has His timing, and some things take time and require patience.
Some of our most fruitful works have been those where people have stayed in the same place and have slowly and methodically cultivated a solid and fruitful mission work. They have faithfully ministered to new converts day after day, week after week, month after month, who have eventually become close friends and supporters. They’ve built good relations with the neighbors and the local community by gaining the reputation for being there when needed, volunteering to help, and being a living example of their faith.
God help us to learn the balance and to remember that it takes time to accomplish some things.
A mission prayer
Dear Jesus, the goal You’ve set for us is to find more disciples—those who will come into relationship with You and whom we can teach to share Your love and truth with others. You’ve told us that “the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few,” and You’ve instructed us to pray for more laborers to help us to reap the harvest.1 We ask You to guide us to those who will not only accept Your gift of salvation and allow their lives to be changed through it, but to those who will also feel Your call to share the good news with others.
Bring us into contact with those who will realize the value of their salvation and how important it is to pass on that truth to others, who will see the value of Your coming to earth and laying down Your life for the sins of all humankind, thus making Your precious gift of salvation, of everlasting life, available to all. Open the doors for us to network with those who recognize the value of Your great act of love and mercy, those who will have a passion to share that truth with others because it has changed their lives and they want to help effect that same change in others’ lives.
Dear Jesus, You know that receiving enough money to cover all a person’s needs for a lifetime, or having an opportunity that results in making someone’s dreams come true, are things that most people would give anything to receive. But those things can’t even begin to compare to the gift of salvation. Salvation is way more valuable; it’s priceless, and something that everyone needs.
Wonderful Creator, Your love has touched our lives so deeply. We have a personal relationship with You, the God of the universe. We have Your inexplicable peace. We have Your promises of protection. We have Your guidance. We have access to Your words of wisdom. We have the assurance of a beautiful life to come in which we will live with You forever.
We don’t want to keep these treasures to ourselves. We eagerly want to share the wonder of You and our spiritual wealth with others so that those we win and teach can turn around and teach others. You’ve told us that prayer is not the least we can do, but the most.
We thank You for this opportunity to intercede with You for the mission. We pray for those You want us to reach, those whose hearts You are preparing even now. Lord, You’re the one who leads people and directs them to the truth. You are the one who gives the call. Your Spirit moves in people’s lives. You’re the one who saves them.
Jesus, the true lifesaver
You, as My followers, see people drowning, and you throw them your lifesaver—Me. I’m the rope that they can count on, something that will truly and permanently save them. Those who receive Me into their lives are those who grab hold of that lifesaver and put their trust in Me.
But as they thrash in the pounding waves, not everyone immediately wants to drop all the other lifesavers they’ve been clinging to. Their faith is weak, they don’t know what to believe, and more than anything, their hearts are full of fear that nothing around them is strong enough to hold them. They know they need a Savior, they know they need peace with God, they know that their life needs meaning, but from years of ignorance and fear, they are desperately afraid of having nothing to hold on to. If such people are afraid to let go of their other lifesavers—their other gods, religions, or good works—that is no reason to deny them the true lifesaver—Me. I am come to seek and to save that which was lost. That’s My purpose.
As time goes on, life and death will put every belief to the test. That wave too big to handle will crash on the head of everyone eventually, and will prove the need for a Savior. They’ll tug on every rope and find that only one is anchored to the rock. I am the lifesaver of the world. Anyone who clings to Me, I guarantee that they will make it safely to the shore.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
Published on Anchor January 2015. Read by Carol Andrews.
1 Matthew 9:37–38.