I’ve written before about gardening, and I’m getting excited because it’s almost that time. I enjoyed the hours last summer I put in, but reaping the harvest was also nice. Ministry is not always like that. There are times we see immediate results, or perhaps see results of our efforts at length, but not always. I teach at a Christian school, and some of our students will leave us soon and never return. Many will graduate, and keep in touch for a while. After a year or two of college they get busy with new friends and activities, and that’s the normal way it should be. Some of our students will simply not return to us next year, either enrolling in public school or in some cases, a different private school. At any rate, in most cases we will not see the end result of our work in ministry. I am definately not the same person I was in high school, and realize that our students today are not the mature adults that (we hope) they will grow into. Paul said that he plants, another waters, but it is God who gives the increase. Our job is to sow the seeds of the Gospel, then let nature take it’s course. Sometimes we will see immediate fruit from our labor. Other times the “fruit” doesn’t come about until years later. We’ve all heard stories of an adult, perhaps with children of their own, introducing themselves as Sunday school or youth group members from decades past. In Jesus’s parable of the sower, he talks a lot about the type of soil, but seems to automatically assume that good seed is being sown. In his example, good seed is a given. When we sow good seeds of the Gospel message (and live the life that bears witness of the Gospel) it is not up to us to make the seeds grow. We can’t artificially speed up the maturation process. In my garden, I know the number of days each fruit or vegetable is expected to take to reach maturity. God’s time table often does not follow our guidelines, so instead of making demands, we really need to just move on planting seeds. The Bible teaches that the Word will not return void. We sow in the faith that the one who created seeds, soil, sun and rain knows what he’s doing.