Feeling a bit discouraged about the “results” of my work with international students, I had a walk and talk with my dad one Christmas break several years ago. My dad had been a pastor and missionary for 35 years, and I appreciated his perspective. He held up an imaginary seed between his fingers and said, “Karen, remember the life is in the seed.” That’s it. We plant the spiritual seed, someone else may water it, but God makes it grow. There is life within the seed!
"Karen, remember the life is in the seed."
Yes, the gospel has a life of its own. My job is simply to keep planting this life-giving seed. If I keep faithfully doing that, some receptive soil will receive the seed, and God will do the miracle of growth.
Joy had begun to open her heart to the seed of the gospel back in China. When she arrived at Georgetown as a grad student I matched her with an American Friend partner from a local church, and Joy started coming to our events.
At the end of her first Chi Alpha worship service on campus, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “I've never felt God like this before!” The seed was being watered.
Then Joy went with us to our Mosaic international student conference. During an elective class she responded fully to God’s love, receiving his forgiveness and forgiving others who had hurt her. She said it felt like she could “breathe again!” The seedling was sprouting. A few months later, I had the privilege of baptizing her right in the middle of campus after a Chi Alpha service.
And then Joy graduated, got a job in Nebraska, and moved away. Would the young seedling grow? Why yes!. She immediately got involved in a church and Bible study there.
Yesterday, I was looking at Facebook updates and noticed Joy’s update, “So grateful for every blessing in my life, for great friends, for God’s faithfulness and unfailing love!!!” We planted the seed that had spiritual life within it into fertile soil. And God’s love has made it grow. It is such a privilege to watch His beautiful garden grow in the lives of students from around the world.
Have faith that there is life within the seed.
(Note - We've changed the name of the student in this story)