There are two reasons to write this – one for encouragement, one for warning.
When I was in Canada for my last home assignment, I was greatly encouraged by the appreciation expressed particularly by 2 young women who I had the privilege of teaching during my early years in ministry. When I think back on those days, I wasn’t thinking that I was doing anything “out of the ordinary”. In fact, I might have been tempted to dismiss altogether the “worth of what I was doing”. It just all seemed “so routine”. And no one ever thought that Sunday School and children’s ministry was particularly significant or important.
A few months ago, one of the young women who took the time to tell me of the impact I had had on her life was received as a Ministerial Candidate. Now, I am not patting myself on the back but, imagine, I had influenced her young life when I taught her in CLC. I remember those days and I tell you the truth, I didn’t always look forward to the rigours of my Tuesday night classes with those very lively, even rowdy children. Emily was the quiet one in the group but I do remember her in my classes. So Emily spoke to me about how my creativity in teaching and concern for the children spoke to her about Jesus. She told me she “wanted to be like me” I didn’t realize how she was watching and perhaps there were also others in the class. God used me even “when no one was looking”!
Another young woman that I met at a Women’s retreat shared with me about the songs she learned in junior choir and what I taught her in Junior Church. She was one of the younger children but is now a young wife and mother and through me she was challenged as a child to put her trust in Jesus and to live for him. Now she is raising her children to follow Jesus. Her commitment to Christ happened “when no one was looking.”
If North American culture is anything like it is here in Africa, we somehow think that ministry is meaningful only when it is directed to the “masses” and there is something remarkable or at least noticeable about what we are doing. We just might be surprised to learn that God works “when it seems no one is looking”.
Last week again I met a young woman who was working in a shop as a saleslady. She was very excited when she saw me and bragged to everyone how I encouraged her as a girl in Sunday School. I had an impact on her young life – “when no one was looking”. Pray for Lydia that she will not only remember her early days in Sunday School but that she would seriously consider her relationship with the Lord now.
Be encouraged in whatever ministry you might be doing – God is using you even “when no one is looking”.