Jesus often used natural examples to illustrate spiritual truths, one of His favorites being a small, ordinary seed. He invites us to look at the mustard seed, for example, "the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:32, NLT).
In ministries like ours with The Navigators, each day we ask God to help us spread “little bitty seeds” of faith wherever He leads. We don’t know which will take root, which won’t—that's a "God thing." We send a card; we have coffee with a friend who's hurting; we walk alongside a new believer or mentor a young couple; we even work with church teams to help them become intentional about disciplemaking. We plant seeds and trust God with the results.
When we do hear how God is working to grow the seeds, we experience a surge of faith and pause to praise Him. Recently, my wife and I experienced just such a time of praise when we read the following Facebook update posted by a friend, who allowed me to share his post to encourage you and the part you play in this ministry:
In October 2013, you and I sat down at the Focus on the Family cafeteria and had lunch, per Peter Mayberry's recommendation. He was the Executive Pastor and I was the Worship Pastor at FEFC (First Evangelical Free Church) at the time. I was amidst a thick fog of uncertainty about the ministerial future God had for me and needed some guidance. We talked about a great many things and at one point, you gathered from our conversation that I was going to be a lead pastor. You shared this with me and I didn't believe you. I remember even scoffing when you said it. I had only held worship ministry roles up to this point, and no one I'd ever worked with had spoken anything of the sort into my life.
You were the first. In your boldness, you planted that seed.
Now, about 2 1/2 years later, I am in a Lead Pastor role at a church in Idaho, and both the job and the location are better than I could have dreamed. Being in this role, I can confidently say that you were right. The seed you planted produced a crop. Thank you for your faithfulness, for your clarity, and for your boldness in speaking into my life. I believe the meager lunch we shared marked a turning point, and I wanted you to know how much of an encouragement that one meeting was for me. I pray that God blesses you abundantly for the positive impact you had on my life.
I praise God for how He’s working in Pastor Nick’s life, and how He will continue to do so. Indeed, I’m elated
as I envision how God will use him going forward to touch and transform the lives of his congregation—and many more lives through them! Praise God and pray with me for Pastor Nick, okay?
Meanwhile, let me encourage you to listen and submit to the Holy Spirit to be used of God as He leads in the lives of those around you. Again, it may be a card, coffee or lunch, or simply asking how you can pray for someone. Never underestimate how God can use—and is using—you to make a Kingdom difference in your world!
We're grateful for all pastors, ministry leaders, and "lifelong laborers in the harvest" with whom we're partnering in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 9:35-38
. Together, let’s keep on planting those little bitty seeds and see what God will produce for eternity’s sake!
Dean Ridings is a Representative of Navigator Church Ministries. To contact Dean or to learn more about the Ridings’ Navigator ministry in the Rocky Mountain Region, please click here.