“Good morning! Free tea or coffee?”
“I see you already have coffee. Free hot cross bun to go with it? No catch, I promise.”
It was the Thursday of Holy Week, and I was standing on the sidewalk in front of the church making these offers to all who passed by, being completely ignored by most.
A team of us had been out the day before as well, and now I was at the point where I could recognize the construction workers from down the street who had walked by, refused my offer, and then had returned 15 minutes later with a coffee in hand from the local convenience store.
At least it’s not as cold as when we did this at Christmas, I said to myself. At least I can still feel my toes.
Being ignored did give me time to think –
Who knew it could be so difficult to give away free things?
Well … God did.
There is no free gift more expensive than the grace and salvation offered through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, His only Son. Yet, many doubt that God could be that good. “Surely there’s a catch,” they think.
Still others prefer to ignore Him and try purchasing salvation down the street, however temporary it may turn out to be.
Ministry in Dublin is like waiting for spring flowers to bloom in a never-ending winter. I have been tempted to despair. But then I think of all the amazing things I’ve seen God do here.
The conversations that I had as some people did accepted a free cup of tea, the man who stopped by purposefully because he regretted not stopping the year before, the fact that we handed out over 300 hot cross buns this year!
I think of these words from Paul:
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”
—1 Corinthians 3:6-7
So what if most days feel like winter?
Every gardener knows there is still plenty to do in order to prepare for spring. When it’s hard to see the results of ministry – I remember that we are just planting seeds for Him.
Not only has God given us different roles in sharing the gospel, He has also removed the responsibility for the final result—because He is the only one who can make seeds grow!
May our lives overflow with hope as we pray for the growing work God is doing below the ground in the hearts of people—here in Ireland and around the world.
May we be patient in eager expectation as we wait for the sun’s warmth to usher in spring.