If a bell rings and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
If a Salvation Army bell ringer stands on post outside a department store all day and not a single soul drops a cent into the bucket, was it really worth the ringer’s time and effort?
If a church holds a rally and not a single soul gets saved, was it worth the church’s time and effort?
Many of us have been to a church-sponsored camp, revival or other event where we heard a speaker attempt to rouse a reluctant crowd, saying, “If just one person chooses to follow Christ tonight, then all of our work here will have been worth it.”
But what if no one came forward that night? What if no one chose to give their life to Jesus at that rally? Was the work still worth it?
Do we have to see immediate results in our work for the kingdom?
Getting an immediate reaction from those we minister to would certainly make Christian service easier. The same can be said of any difficult task in life.
For instance, exercising after a hearty Thanksgiving meal would not be such a challenge if we could be guaranteed that immediately after completing a workout we would see a chiseled six pack staring back at us from the mirror.
If only we could always see the results from our work. If only we could be certain that the seeds we plant will blossom. But God never promised us our eyes would bear witness to all that he is doing in our lifetime.
A believer’s responsibility is to spread the message of Christ so that others might believe and be saved. But the road to salvation usually is not a short path. Instead, the trail is often marked by a series of experiences and conversations that combine together to create a collage of Christ’s love.
As followers of Jesus, our duty is to be about this work, to plant the seeds we were called to plant in other’s lives, and guide those who God places in front of us closer to him to the best of our abilities. The efforts we make might not make an immediate impact, but they will have an effect in fertilizing the seed and the soil so that one day God can come in and reap the harvest.
There might not be one person who gets saved simply because of one conversation, one message, one service or one act from us. But without these small pieces that we put into place, the puzzle of God’s love would never be complete in a person’s life.
Jesus commanded us in his final words to go and make disciples of the nations. A disciple, however, is rarely made in one meeting. Do not weigh yourself down thinking that even just one person must be saved through your work.
Trust what God is doing through you. Refuse to put restrictions on his work. Rejoice that God is not dependent on you. He chooses to use you.
Take comfort that sometimes just ringing the bell is enough, even if it seems like no one is listening.
ALEX DORIOT IS THE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES AT THE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.