I enjoy vacuuming—mostly because I can. For years I could not push a vacuum due to lower back issues (read: pain!). So each time I vacuum now, I praise the Lord for pain-free living.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t vacuum on a regular basis—it’s not my job. That has been delegated to one of our children. However, we purchased a new vacuum a few months ago, and since then I have tried to vacuum at least one room each week. I find it gratifying because I can see the results. They are immediate. I like that! I start with an empty bin and when I am finished the bin is full. Thirty minutes. Dirt collected. Done. Finished. Complete.
I think that’s why we like projects or mission trips—something with a start and a finish. Instant gratification. Immediate results. My husband was excited when he returned from Liberia. Clean water pumped to a school. One hundred fifty households with new water systems. Pastors’ conference taught.
But life isn’t always like that. Most ministry takes place in day-to-day living. It’s not sensational or even noticeable.
My husband says the most difficult part of ministry for him is the apathy. We can’t impart the desire to follow God into others. I, too, have found that to be true. I have counseled some ladies for years and seen little to no fruit of my labor. The same can be true of parenting. It’s difficult to repeat myself (sit up straight, say “thank you,” don’t fidget) over a span of six months, a year, ten years . . . with seemingly little results. Yet that’s what God calls us to.
Deep-rooted change and character building, being molded to the image of Christ, takes time (for those we are reaching out to AND for us!). So we persevere. Then one day we look back and realize:
Our children are demonstrating compassion, love, and thankfulness
A beautiful, once-broken lady leads a Bible study
We are more patient and forgiving
While we wait for significant results, let’s look for glimpses of progress:
Little Johnny says, “Thank you,” without being told.
Neighbor Betty shares a Scripture with a young mother.
One room in the house is clean right now—as evidenced by a full vacuum bin.