Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Give Him a Bigger Job!"

While my husband was studying at the Assemblies of God seminary in Springfield, Missouri, in the mid-seventies, we began attending a large Sunday school class of mostly retired missionaries and ministers. The class always opened by singing a hymn out of the hymnal. My husband saw a need and began collecting the hymnals at the conclusion of the class to prepare the room for the choir to assemble there before the morning worship service.

One week, as he began to pick up the books, the teacher of the class, Mother Flower, suddenly called out, "Give that young man a bigger job! He's been picking up the hymnals every week. It's time to give him more responsibility."

Mother Flower, a matriarch in our Fellowship, was one of the charter members of the Assemblies of God. Her husband served for many years as the General Secretary. Together, they wrote and published The Christian Evangel, a magazine that became the forerunner of The Pentecostal Evangel. In addition to raising six children, who also served as outstanding missionaries, pastors, and district and national officials in the Assemblies of God, she wrote much of our early Sunday school literature. What a privilege to sit in her class. Even at 86 years of age, she always had a fresh lesson, no reruns.

This remarkable woman then asked my young seminarian husband to be the substitute teacher for her class of retired ministers! What an honor!

A year later, when we accepted the call to plant a new church in New York State, that class of retired pastors and missionaries became our prayer partners.

That incident reminds me of the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25 of the stewards left to care for their master's estate in his absence. The two who put the money to work and doubled the original amount were rewarded and given bigger responsibilities.

The Apostle Paul compared God's kingdom to a garden in which some plant the seed, others water, and others reap, but it is God who makes the seed grow. Many pastors and missionaries have worked long and hard in God's fields sowing the seed of the gospel and watering it with their tears without seeing the harvest. Then others come and the work grows and many come to the Lord. That time of great reaping would not have been possible without the faithful sowing and watering of the seed. A missions hymn, "The Songs of the Reaper," by Rev. W. A. Spence, puts it this way: "But the tears of the sower and the songs of the reaper shall mingle together in joy by and by."

My lifelong goal has been that at the end of my days on earth I will hear my Savior say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I take comfort in the knowledge that God doesn't reward us on the basis of our success in the eyes of the world but on our faithfulness in doing what He has called us to do.

Galatians 6:9 encourages us to not "get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time" (NLT). I want to work in God's fields in such a way as to deserve His words of commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Don't you?

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