Last week we looked at John 2:1-12 where Jesus turned water into wine. A few of the observations I made were that Jesus used ordinary water to produce extraordinary wine—that is, it was wine that was even better than what could be produced by natural processes. This has some application to our life together in a church. We often want to depend on “natural processes” in the church. We often feel that we will grow when we get the right program, event, or activity to draw in the crowds. However, the growth of the church is not accomplished through natural processes, but supernatural ones. We are not to be passive observers—simply waiting for God to do something—but we do depend on God to grow His church. What do we do? We plant the seed, we water, we harvest, and God supplies the increase. When we do our part, we cannot neglect the work of personal evangelism, intentional disciple making, and praying for God to move in our hearts.
All of this is evident in what has been happening in Panama recently. We have had a presence in the community now for a little over a year, and we have been slow in our growth. We have experienced ups and downs, and our most consistent success has been with the neighborhood kids. (Just a note, the work with the neighborhood kids did not start with Redeemer. The faithful remaining crowd from Grace Fellowship had continued trying to reach these kids all along. We would not have the success we have with them if it had not been for their faithfulness in sowing and watering along the way.) Just within the last month some exciting things have been happening that have been God’s blessing on our faithful sewing. In the last few weeks we have had two first time visitors that we had been planting seeds with for months who finally came. And they have also since then each brought friends with them.
We can often get discouraged because we don’t see our labors paying off, but we need to remember what Jesus taught us about sewing and reaping. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9