When you genuinely strive toward faithfulness in your leadership, friendships, counseling situations, or evangelistic opportunities, you can’t shake the discouragement when those to whom you minister meet you with blank stares or hard hearts. While working toward faithfulness, every Christian will come to a point where they feel they are failing. Disappointment often follows when efforts do not bear visible fruit.
Not that we are striving to have people listen to us and follow our way. But when we truly endeavor to lead others in the way of God and His Scriptures, and our friends don’t budge, we hurt for them and are tempted to lower our heads in discouragement.
What are we to do when met with fruitlessness in ministry? Here are a few thoughts to remember:
- Be Faithful—Regardless of others’ responses to your efforts, you are not failing when you are faithful. So keep ministering and counseling in humility, truth, and love.
- God’s Invisible Work—Most often, the Holy Spirit works in ways we can’t see. Even if that one conversation ended fruitlessly, God can still be working in that person’s heart long after the phone call ends. So don’t give up on what God can do, and keep praying for them.
- You Might Not See Fruit—One plants, another waters, but God gives the growth. This reinforces the previous point, and also indicates that we may never see the fruit of our labors in this lifetime. Not that we can expect to see in heaven every single person we evangelized (if so, praise God!). Nevertheless, we may be surprised and overwhelmingly pleased to see our once-hard-hearted friend in heaven because of how God worked through that perceived “failure” of a conversation.
So when you are met with brick walls or blank stares in your ministry, do not give up hope in the power of the gospel. Keep praying for your friends and neighbors. Remember that God can do far and above what we think or imagine. Dare to imagine the possibility that God is working in ways that will only be fully realized in eternity.
Faith is the assurance of what is unseen (Heb. 11:1).
And faithfulness is never in vain.