Summary: Witnessing is frustrating when we water and plant more than we harvest. We get more glory harvesting a soul or walking down the aisle with a new Christian than in spending months/years planting and watering the seed of faith. We do not witness for our glo
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)
Witnessing can be frustrating when we find ourselves watering and planting more than we harvest. There is more personal glory in harvesting a soul than in planting a seed. There is more personal glory in walking down the aisle with a new Christian than in spending months or years watering the seed of faith. We do not witness for personal glory.
I heard Mike Reynolds, then the Director of Utah Missions, at a meeting in South Carolina telling about leading a Mormon to Christ the first time he witnessed to him. It was such an unusual experience for Mike that he began asking questions about others who had witnessed to the man. He then said, “Something like nineteen other people had witnessed to him before I did.”
“Something like nineteen other people” who had witnessed to him may not know he has professed faith in the Jesus of the Bible. “Something like nineteen other people” may be frustrated because they have not seen the results of their efforts. The truth is, only God knows all the results of all our efforts.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
I can’t prove it, but I like to think that the plural “us” refers to those who plant, those who water, and those who reap all sharing in the harvest.
Charles Smith was a Jehovah’s Witness, working his way up in the organization for 37 years. Outside one of their meetings, he noticed someone with a sign that simply said, “1 John 5:13.” He decided he would read it later.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (KJV)
The verse was shocking to him. He tried reading it again to be sure he had not misread it the first time. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know... that ye may know... that ye may know that ye have eternal life...”
Watchtower theology does not allow them to know they have eternal life. Charles Smith was shocked and confused. After 37 years of working his way up in the organization, he did not know he had eternal life. He did not even know he could know. He took the rather unusual step (unusual for Jehovah’s Witnesses) of reading the verse in context. Much of 1 John 5 was contrary to his JW teachings. When he asked questions about it, what did his superiors tell him? “Don’t worry about it.”
Charles could not stop worrying about it. He struggled with this chapter for a year before deciding he had to know or go mad. He finally knew he had to accept the real Jesus, not the Jesus of the Watchtower, as his savior.
The last time I talked with Charles, he had not met the person holding the sign outside of one of their meetings. The person holding the sign does not know what happened to Charles. I pray that the person has not become frustrated and given up trying to witness. Only God knows all the results of all our efforts.