You don’t always get to see the fruit of your goodness. Special traits and services like gentleness, hospitality, an open home, encouragement, spontaneous little acts to lend a hand, a listening ear, a friendly word, and a warm, welcoming heart and attitude sometimes go unnoticed or seem like they get thrown back in your face. As discouraging as that can get, God encourages us to always show love. Jesus commands us to “’Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’” (John 13:34-35), and we do these things to serve and glorify God. Ultimately God produces the fruit, even if we don’t see it until eternity, and that’s what matters. We should never stop trying to show love because any time we shine God’s light a seed is planted, whether it ever grows or not, and God always has a greater purpose in everything.
Despite feeling taken advantage of, doubtful of yourself, or discouraged because of these instances, the situations provide a chance to test your faith and obedience to God and an opportunity for growth in your relationship with Him. You get to practice being a true servant. Galatians 6:9-10 reminds us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
God’s assured me of this recently when I have felt discouraged by my efforts to love on some friends. Even if it seems like an act bounces off a person, it could serve as some warmth for that friend. God’s blessed me with the gifts of hospitality and encouragement to share His love, and I try to open my heart and my home to welcome my friends. Those gifts and my desire to have quality time and conversation with people drive me to express friendship through invitations for engagements like lunch, dinner, or tea dates (or the traditional weekly Sunday Tea open house). Typically this goes over well, and my friend(s) and I enjoy some bonding time together, but those cases also exist where people leave these proposals unanswered. That can happen for reasons ranging from they don’t really want to hang out with me to they don’t quite interact the same way as I do or they couldn’t make the one engagement and forget about others.
God built me to hold a pen in my hand; I write people notes. While a couple friends have expressed how much my words have meant to them, a lot of times I don’t know exactly how the letter reaches the recipient. For all I know, people have gotten my letters in the mail and subsequently burned them. Maybe they’re read and tossed aside; maybe they’re put in a special box for such treasures. While I might get curious about what happens, it’s not the main reason for writing. I get to let God use me as a vessel to share His love through my words. No matter what happens to them, God uses them to warm my friends’ hearts, whether that happens immediately or years from now or whether I know it or not.
Once in a while small unknowns like that finally add up to make me feel doubtful of myself, but that’s not what matters. I serve God, and I try to glorify Him by sharing His love, especially in the ways He specially equipped me. These times of doubt remind me that I lean on Him as He’s always got me in the palm of His hand. In turn that shows me my real purpose: glorifying God and furthering His kingdom. If everything always went smoothly, I wouldn’t know how good things really are. The doubtful times remind me how to be a true servant. Even though I might not see the greater significance at the time, God works through everything for His plan and the good of everyone.