Recently, I promoted New Creation at a book fair. It took a week to be ready. I made bookmarks. Bought a stand for a sign. Printed a price sign. Paid the entry fee. Bought candy to set on the table. Left the house at 8:30 am and got back home at 9 pm.
Sold one book.
On the other hand, I gave away several bookmarks. Mentioned to those that stopped by that New Creation is an e-book. I was able to see how other authors promote and present their books at these book fairs. I have to admit that I still think the designer that did the New Creation cover did a fantastic job. When I saw all the cover options, this one
captured my interest immediately.
That’s not a tangent, because I want to use the tree as a symbol.
Even though the financial outlays for the book fair far exceeded the income that came in (that I know), I would not call the book fair a loss. Even though I may not ever know what comes from handing out the bookmarks or those that stopped by to speak to me, I planted seeds.
Growing up in the church, evangelizing is strongly encouraged, even to the point of competitiveness. “How many people have you led to the Lord recently?” It was a question that I heard as a little girl, and I was guilt-stricken because I had not led people to the Lord as the other children with me. [If you’re thinking that’s not a healthy feeling for a 4- or 5-year-old to have, you’re right.]
I have no problem with the rightness of evangelizing. But we aren’t always going to see the fruit of our efforts and if we turn evangelizing into a competition, we’re repeating the problems that plagued the Corinthian church in the 1st century.
“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” — I Corinthians 3:4-7
What a relief that the work of evangelizing isn’t all on our shoulders. Yes, we absolutely should plant seeds. Water them. But the work of making new creations is the ultimate work of the Spirit of God.
When I was a teen, I spent several weeks talking to a younger girl about Jesus, but I was not there when she finally made the decision to follow Jesus and accept him as her personal Savior. I was hurt back then, but now I look back with a warm remembrance knowing I and the “Apollos” that was there when the girl prayed worked together to bring that girl to Jesus Christ.
This is about souls, not “Official Evangelization Numbers.”
Keep planting. Keep watering. Keep going out to the fields white unto harvest.