One of the most difficult tasks a Christian, eager to serve the Lord, will meet is the anxiety accompanied with waiting for results. Our Lord, knowing our weaknesses, has included ample Scripture in His Word to help us through these anxious times. One such passage is found in Deuteronomy 11:13-15 (KJV): “And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.”
The Lord has been very clear as to the subject of Christian duty. We are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . .” and “. . . thy neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40 NASB). Further instruction regarding “duty” is found in the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians with regard to gifts and the utilization of them. We are bound, as members of the body of Christ, to function as God has ordained, using the gifts He has provided. For some, the problem lies here. What are we to do? Discovering our gifts and knowing how to use them can be troublesome. For most people, however, I suspect this is fairly clear. Our text tells us we are to “diligently hearken” unto those commandments He has clearly revealed to us. And, I am convinced that a larger percentage of Christians are very willing to yield their lives to do the will of God.
As a willing and eager third-grade student, my daughter came home from school with a science project. She was to plant a lima bean in a pot, fertilize and water it, and watch it grow. She tackled the project with exuberance. Every few minutes of the first day were spent checking to see if it had sprouted. The second day included several inspections of the pot with a long face of disappointment. Several days had gone by with no sign of germination. To her the project was a failure. “We might as well dig it up and start all over again with a new bean,” she said. I had assured her that if she would just wait a few more days the bean would probably sprout and her endeavor would be successful.
Have you ever noticed that God only commands us to “serve him with all your heart and with all your soul”? Never does He place the burden of results upon our shoulders beyond the realm of faithfulness. The crying need of the church is not newer and better methods; it is faithfulness. Whatever gift or gifts you have are meaningless without faithfulness. Whether you abound with gifts or have relatively few in comparison with others is irrelevant as long as you are faithful. Whether you have long labored for the Lord or are newly involved In Christian service, your labor is in vain without faithfulness. God has called every Christian to faithfulness. This is the area where most Christians have a problem. Part of the problem is that we are prone to walk by sight and not by faith. We want to see something happen! If you are faithfully doing what you believe God wants you to, something is happening! God is always at work, and He is working in all things.
This is where “dividends” enter the picture. Our text instructs, the reward for “devotion” (faithfulness) is “dividends.” Our Deuteronomy text says: “I will give you the rain of your land in his due season . . . that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil . . . that thou mayest eat and be full!”
Have you labored for the Lord and felt nothing was being accomplished: the church has not seemed to grow because of what you have been doing; the financial picture has not mushroomed because of your service; as a matter of fact, there is no statistic that seems to have improved because of what you are doing? Don’t be discouraged nor deceived. God will honor faithfulness with much fruit! I believe it was F. B. Meyer who used to say, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” Jesus said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12). The best thing you and I can do is to stop looking at our watches and calendars and simply look by faith Into the face of God and let Him have His way— In His time. – by Kurt A. Miller, Reprinted from Brethren Missionary Herald, March 1984 (Access this online at archive.org/stream/brethrenmissiona46112turn#page/n85/mode/2up.)
Editor’s Note – When this was written, Kurt Miller was a pastor in Palm Harbor, Florida. After serving in various churches and ministries in the Charis Fellowship, he and his wife Anecia, retired in 2017 to Rocky Point, N.C.