There have been times this summer where we have referenced something that happened in the past by saying, "I remember a few weeks ago about how Brian was telling me about..." and we'd have to think for a moment before saying, "that was five days ago... on Monday." Time moves strangely here. Some of the weeks moved rapidly, but typically a week felt like a month.
So to be in church today and realize that in a week I'll be in an entirely different church, back with the family I grew up with came as a surprise to me.
Has anything been done this summer? Did I just occasionally brighten someone's day by getting lunch with them? (Well, yes, I believe that I did do that and I believe that doing so is no small deal) The question I really want to have answered is, "Did I do anything that will have lasting significance?" "Did I do anything important this summer?" "Will my work have eternal consequences?"
Certainly, the answer to that is that "only time will tell." Which really is true - one plants and another reaps. It is for me to accept on faith that "my labor is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
However, if Saturday night was any indication, Great Things have already been done! An upperclassmen guy I had been reaching out ended up getting the night off from work - his first free Saturday night since he has decided to actively live his life for God's glory and not his own pleasures. A typical Saturday night for him would have been doing the 'same old' thing with his same friends he's had since freshmen year - more often then not involving drinking heavily. He didn't have a clue what to do with this night off. He knew that he didn't want to do the same old thing and was faced with an opportunity to either: a) not fight temptation, do the easy thing and go out to the bars, b) squalor the night at his apartment, watching movies and having fun on his own, or c) seek ways to actively honor and serve the Lord.
Brothers, Sisters, and all that read this: he choose c)!
He began calling people he'd met through the fellowship. He swiftly organized an impromptu Bible Study. I was invited to a Bible Study! I have been the one doing the inviting for over two years now I couldn't remember the last time I was INVITED to a Bible study. The fact that one of the guys I invited out to a study this summer (have weekly been meeting one on one with him to study it more deeply and to disciple him) decided to put what God has taught him into action deeply moved me.
Only three of us were able to show up; but people there heard truths from the scriptures that they had never heard before! It was an amazing experience to be able to be an part of someone experiencing God's truth in such a vivid way for their first time. Afterwards the guy and I went out and got dinner. Our friendship has become fast and sure, we chatted about our childhoods more and really got to know each other much better than we have so far this summer. We then took some time to evaluate how the study went. We examined what went well and how we can improve. It was a great time! He's taking very real steps to growing as a Godly man who will influence others in a positive way.
Bouncing off some of our assessments of how others at the study were reacting to the word and trying to decipher how we can strategically teach and help them individually, our conversation began talking about some of our very real struggles and the real difficulties of daily choosing to believe that we are justified by God. When God looks upon those who He has saved He doesn't see us and our faults and blemishes, but He sees the work of His Son and declares us perfect in His eyes.
I am thoroughly convinced that this guy genuinely loves the Lord and has now decided to make Him the central focus of his life.
God worked this summer!