I taught that lesson twice in a row with no problems. The students caught on quickly and I met the objectives with no difficulty. After the second group left I approached the tall, slim, dignified looking lady, expecting her to meet me with, at best, a mediocre assessment.
“Good job,” she said, and when my jaw dropped she added, “Listen: they can’t all be showstoppers. You taught an important lesson and you taught it well. They learned exactly what you set out to teach them and they enjoyed it.”
I learned something that day, something I keep reminding myself as I approach the computer day after day, struggling sometimes to find something to write. Just do your best. Turn in a good effort, be faithful to the Word God has entrusted you with, and let Him take care of the rest.
Sometimes I hear from people telling me that what I wrote was exactly what they needed that day. A few times it was a piece I almost deleted because I was so dissatisfied with it. The same thing has happened to Keith. When you preach two sermons a week, every week, you occasionally produce one just because you needed one to fill the time one Sunday morning, not because you were particularly enthralled with the subject. Many times people have complimented those very sermons. At least one of them led directly to a conversion.
Many times we feel unnoticed and totally useless to the Lord. We think we are doing nothing for God because nothing we do matters. Nonsense. More people are watching you than you know. You need to learn the same lesson I did. Every day can't be a showstopper. Some days are so ordinary as to make you wonder why you exist. You get up, you go to work, you come home and spend time with the family. You pay your bills on time and help the neighbor with his ornery lawn mower, perhaps even mowing his yard for him. You study your Bible, and then you hit the sack and get up and go again the next morning, an ordinary--you think--honest, hard-working joe.
Or you get up and down all night with the baby and barely know you are sending your older ones off to school because you are so tired. But then you still do the grocery shopping and prepare the meals and launder the clothes. You wash dishes and scrub floors and dust the countertops and shelves, change the sheets, then throw together an extra casserole for a sick neighbor, help the kids with their Bible lesson and then their homework, and fall into bed exhausted.
Or you sit at home alone because you are too old and sick and frail to get out any longer, so you watch a little TV, read your Bible, call a few folks on the sick list (besides yourself), write a few get well and sympathy cards, then go to bed and start all over again tomorrow.
And all of you wonder, what good is that to anyone? Well, you never know, especially when you count God into the mix. He can work wonders with the weak, the frightened, and the average. He can take the smallest seed you plant and make a huge tree out of it. Don’t you remember a parable along those lines? In God’s hands, nothing you do is just filling up time.
So get up every morning and do what you are supposed to do in the way you are supposed to do it. Someone out there needs to see you do that, and if you do, God will take care of the rest.
I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. Now he that plants and he that waters are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow-workers... 1Cor 3:6-9.