Not In Vain

Out of the blue, a church member from my previous parish texted me. He wanted to meet me for lunch.

My memories of him rolled back some seven years ago.

I recall he was looking to me to be his mentor. He was seeking someone to help him find his way back to God. Even though he was a Christian believer serving in the church for many years yet he appeared to have lost his spiritual footing. He was spiritually hungry for God.

For the next three months or so, he was in my office almost every week. I used a discipleship book, “Roots & Wings” to direct our focus.

I learned he had left his previous job and was looking for a new one. It’s reason why he had the available time to meet me for over an hour each time.

He also revealed he was going through a rough patch in his marriage. He was seeking legal separation from his wife. His relationship with his son and daughter with special need was in a total mess.

Without a job, an empty marriage, angry children and unhappy home, it seemed his world had collapsed. He wanted very much for God to restore his broken world.

And God did. Bit by bit. He broke away from the affair he started with a former colleague. He turned his heart towards God and his family. He withdrew the divorce proceeding. His son and daughter began to warm towards him. He became a devoted father and a loving husband.

And all this was God’s answer to prayers for never before have I seen a man weep and pray so hard before God.

That was seven years ago. I have not seen him since as I have moved on to another church.

I thought the lunch meeting was just to catch up with each other. But it turned out to be an appreciation meal. He wanted to say “thanks” to me for taking time to listen and pray for him.

Then he added. Recently he joined a mission trip to Mindanao in Sulawesi, Indonesia. At the prison centre, he shared his personal testimony of how God restored his broken world to 150 prison inmates. That day, a hundred of them stood up to receive Christ in their lives.

Although all praise goes to God who alone convince, convict and convert every soul yet he wants to specially thank me for helping him to direct his way home to God. He wanted me to know my work in helping prodigals like him was not in vain.

The time I spent on individuals like him counts far more than I could ever imagine. It was never wasted. It bore fruit after seven years.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with great thanksgiving to God.

It bears out for me the truth of God’s Word:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

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