Pastoral Articles

Keep on Planting, Keep on Watering

Keep on Planting, Keep on Watering

Pastor Jeff VanGoethem


I met a young man on the street down by the five points intersection during our unlock week, about five minutes by car from our church building.  He is our neighbor, although I had never met him before.  From my perspective, he talked a lot of nonsense, believe me.  When I went through our little conversation card with him, asking him about his world view, he was all over the place.  Unemployed, rootless, bitter, rebellious, it seemed he did not want to listen and so I decided to do some listening (he didn’t mind talking!), asking God to help me love this guy and understand what was really going on in his life.  I listened for quite a while.

Finally he seemed to calm down a bit and I was able to share God’s Story of salvation with him.  He did not seem too interested, frequently interrupting me to declare his opinions, which I found to be complete nonsense.  However at one point I noticed a change.

When I began to talk with him about how God takes the story of our lives, with all their ups and downs and hurts and sins and pains and wounds and disappointments and everything else, and through faith in Christ writes our story into the wonderful, blessed and eternal story God is writing, he finally shut up, even if ever so briefly.  I spoke to him of God washing through our lives in atonement and forgiveness, His voice declaring to us that we are saved and that we belong to Him forever. I told him that this could happen to him and he would know and experience forever that he belonged to God.  It would end his frustration and rootlessness.

As he took this in, he paused.  He stopped talking.   It was a holy pause.  He was thinking, God was working.  Some comprehension took place. Although I do not believe he was converted, I know that God’s grace was touching this spiritually needy young man at that very moment 

It ended up being a gracious encounter, which is what we want to see in all of our gospelizing encounters.  Remember how Paul exhorted that our “speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).   A gracious encounter with a lost soul sets the table for the next gospel encounter.  Always remember that.

Remember that Paul said that God gives the increase.  We are just the planters and the water-ers (1 Corinthians 3:1-9).  It is always a great blessing to reap, but let us not lose sight of the importance of planting the seed and watering, graciously.

I rejoiced when I parted company from this man because I sensed God had done something in his life.  Perhaps soon, he will come all the way and meet Jesus, as the Holy Spirit finishes the work He has begun.  Brethren, let us keep on planting and watering.  Meanwhile we’ll keep on praying (are you faithful at the prayer meeting?) and God will give the increase.

We do not want our unlock week to stand isolated.  Rather, we want evangelism and gospelizing and discipleship ministries to be a regular part of our church routine. Let’s stay at it.

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