1 Corinthians 3:1-9
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
I had an interesting experience that reflects this verse many years ago. My favorite uncle had just retired, and was planning on traveling the country with his wife. Before they left, he went to the doctor for a check-up and found out he had cancer. Unfortunately, they told him he had three months at the most to live.
Rather than trying to travel anyway, he went to bed and waited to die. I was so sad. I lived too far away to go visit, but God inspired me to start writing to Uncle Jack – every day! I would pick a favorite scripture passage, one full of hope, write it down and send it to him. I never signed the notes and postcards, but I wrote to him faithfully every day. I sent notes about heaven, about God’s great mercy, and His abundant love, about Jesus’ sacrifice for us and His desire for all to be saved.
Right around the three month mark, as I was praying, I heard Uncle Jack in my thoughts say, "Wow, heaven is amazing! You’re gonna love it here! Don’t ever compromise, don’t ever give up! It’s awesome!" Minutes later, my brother (who was a Four-Square Gospel Minister) called to say that Uncle Jack had died. He also told me how he had hitchhiked down to pray with Uncle Jack. He shared the gospel with him, and said that he died a believer.
It occurred to me that maybe I had planted some seeds with all of those notes and postcards; that Tom had watered the seeds when he went to visit; and that God had caused the growth; drawing my uncle into his embrace. It was so satisfying to let the Lord inspire me each day with what to send and to have been a part of Uncle Jack’s dying days (even in secret). I’m sure others were also praying for my uncle, but I believe that my brother and I each played a small part, and that ultimately it was God’s amazing grace that had ushered Uncle Jack home to heaven.
I look forward to the day when I will see him again! In the meantime let’s let God use us every day to bless someone – even, or maybe especially – anonymously!
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently wrote her first book: God Speaks to Ordinary People – Like You and Me. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].