I feel like I am getting older every day. Not because the calendar says so or because my body keeps groaning when I step into the gym, but because I spend more time thinking of the past than I do of the future. Yesterday the song by Peter, Paul, and Mary, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, kept going through my mind. Where have the posies gone? Now, I equate flowers with the beauty of life and the freshness that springs up to new life.
One of those “flowers” was a man by the name of Bob Sheets. Both of us attended Eastern High School and graduated together in 1971. It was the summer before we were going off to college and we had summer jobs. My job was finished Friday nights about midnight. I would then make my way down to the local pool hall where I would shoot pool till 3AM. Not only was it a great way to start the weekend, but it was also a unique place to share Christ. Most of the guys were just getting off 2nd shift or they were getting back from some party. One night Bob came in and I offered to shoot a game of eight ball with him. I don’t remember the final score, but I do recollect that after all those years in high school, I finally had an opportunity to share with Bob how Christ had changed my life. He wanted to know more. That summer I spent a lot of time praying for Bob and witnessing to him (and shooting a lot of pool!). And then September came. We left for different colleges and that was it. Even though we had good intentions, we didn’t keep up and I lost track. What happened to that “flower”? Did Bob ever trust Christ? Did he ever get rooted into the Word of God? I don’t know, but there are many more people who I’ve met along the way, shared with them the most precious truth they’re ever hear, and I lost track of them also. Where have all the flowers gone?
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why are you telling us this? It happens to all of us.” Yes, it does. Not everyone sends us a report card after we’ve witnessed to them to tell us how they are doing spiritually. But, I am reminded of Isaiah 55:11 “So is my Word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty. But will accomplish what I desire. And achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” These words, spoken by the prophet, remind us how powerful God’s Word is. You may have shared the Gospel with someone 20 years ago, but it may not have been until just last week that the person became thoroughly immersed in the Gospel.
Why? I think Isaiah can help us again. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are your ways my ways. Declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8. It’s almost as if God is reading our minds! (Duh……) Not only do we neglect to remember every person we witness to, but the ones we do remember, we sometimes can’t figure out. Maybe you long to ask, “How again, did you come to Christ? But that doesn’t make sense. You accepted Christ just on what I said?”
His ways are certainly above my ways and His thoughts are far superior to my own.
We may look back and wonder, where have all the people gone that I have talked to over the years? What happened to that man or woman that I presented the Gospel to? We may never know. But that isn’t the question we should be concerned with. The real question is: Who are the people that I am witnessing to today? Is God presently using me to share the Gospel, to help people to find answers for their future? Peter, Paul, and Mary may have been wondering “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” But as for me, I still have a lot of planting to do.