Some plant, some water and some reap.
When I speak in churches, people often ask how effective our ministry is. Are we seeing many Jewish people come to faith? My response is always the same: I wish I could tell you that the number of Jewish people coming to faith is a direct result of our hard work.” That’s not to say that we don’t work hard, but we are keenly aware that when a Jewish person or anyone else comes to faith, it is truly the work of the Holy Spirit. I go on to explain that our responsibility is proclamation. Now it is true that in working with a gospel-resistant people group like the Jewish people, we spend much of the time trying to get their attention long enough to proclaim our message. But in the end, it is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings them to faith.
My experience as a missionary over the last 30 years is that 60-70% of the Jewish people that I pray with to receive the Lord are people whom I have never met before the day we pray. This means that 60-70% of the Jewish people that I have prayed with to receive the Lord have heard the gospel before they met me, and have been struggling with its message. More often than not, they’ve heard the message from a Christian who is willing to risk rejection in order to make the gospel real to their Jewish friend.
In these cases, people come to me with an understanding of the gospel and a need to see how believing in Jesus is not a betrayal of the Jewish people, but the fulfillment of our destiny. They also have a need to talk to someone who has faced the rejection they know is coming should they take that step of faith in Jesus. My experience with telling my Jewish mother of my faith enables me to help other Jewish people face their family and friends.
Recently, our office received a call from a local Christian bookstore. The store owner passed on the name of a Christian whose Jewish husband is suffering from diabetes. The owner had mentioned our ministry to this woman and she asked the bookstore to pass on her husband’s name to us, to see if we’d be willing to meet with him.
Sometimes Christians who want us to visit their loved ones are a bit overly optimistic about how the gospel will be received. But in this case, the optimism was warranted. When I arrived, I found Steve lying in bed. He was in physical and spiritual pain, declaring his guilt concerning how he had lived his life. After reading Scripture, I explained the basis of God’s forgiveness. Steve’s response indicated that much work had already been done and that his heart was ready to receive Christ. So we prayed and Steve became a child of God that day.
I continue to meet with Steve and continue to thank God for His faithfulness in preparing the way. I am also thankful for the store owner who referred Steve’s wife to us, and for her desire to have us come minister to her husband.
Some sow and others water…and when we harvest where we know others have sown and watered, we can only give glory to God.