It happens in other areas as well. We have always had a large garden, mainly to keep the grocery bill affordable. An 80 by 80 foot plot has been planted in three different places through the years as we came to know our land and which areas of it were best suited for what.
But the past few years, we have downsized. Half the original garden, now 40 by 80, is plenty of room for the little the two of us need, and we still have extra to give away on Sunday mornings. But since the other half was already tilled, it seemed a shame to waste it. So that first year Keith planted an entire pound of wildflower seeds in it. If that does not impress you, consider that those seed packets you buy in the store containing 25 seeds are less than a tenth of an ounce. In fact, most of the weight, should you put them on a scale small enough to weigh ounces, is the paper packet itself. So a pound of flower seeds is an enormous amount.
As the spring and summer passed by, nothing came up. What a disappointment. Planting those seeds was a lot of work—tilling, sowing, rolling with a fifty gallon barrel, hauling hoses and setting up sprinklers to water it. Too much work, Keith decided, to try it again.
Then one spring morning during the second year, he looked out on that side of the old garden space and saw what he had expected to see the year before. Bright yellow fleabane in huge clumps, fire engine red, deep pink, and fuchsia phlox, orange gaillardia, yellow and maroon tickseed, and tall stems of black-eyed Susans and cone flowers. It has been a delight all year long. We just had to wait for it longer than expected.
I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (1Cor 3:6)
Planting for the Lord is hard work. It may be natural to want to see results immediately. It may be understandable to become discouraged when we do not. Stop whittling on God's end of the stick. Our job is to plant. Period. God will give the increase in His own good time—maybe the second year, maybe not until the fifth or tenth or even the twentieth.
So keep sowing that seed. You sow it with your words, with your offers to hold a Bible study, with the example you set when life goes awry as it will sooner or later for everyone. You sow it on purpose and you sow accidentally when you do not realize someone else is watching and listening. You sow it formally with written invitations and flyers and you sow when you just happen to think to invite out of the clear blue. One of these days you might see a few results. But then again, you may never see one. That does not mean they won't happen in a heart years removed from the time you sowed, long after you are gone. Even Babe Ruth had to wait a while.
But when those seeds bloom, they will be some of the most beautiful blooms on the face of the earth—a heart where the gospel has taken root and formed a servant of the Lord. Sow something today, on purpose, and think about my wildflowers as you do. God will give that increase--sometime. We must learn to stop counting and see it by faith.
For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:10-11)