“It’s about time you showed up!” Jordan was already hard at work when I arrived at the jobsite. He asked for a helping hand earlier that day on the way to lunch. “Why don’t you come by after school and help me build my garage?” I obliged and drove over in my 1995 Thunderbird. When I pulled into the driveway, I was surprised to see a garage nearly finished. The bulk of the work had already been done; all I did was put the finishing touch on a project he had been working on for weeks.
Whether you are preaching the gospel to the lost or encouraging someone to walk closer with the Lord, remember this: God is always at work long before you get there. God often uses you to finish a job He’s been working on for weeks, years, or even decades. Many times, you are merely building on a foundation God has already laid through the work of other believers. As Paul said, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:5-7).
Who knows how many sermons your neighbor has heard before you arrive at the doorstep? Who knows how many gospel testimonies your coworker has heard before you share yours? Who knows how many prayers have been uttered for a lost soul before you pray for them? Who knows how deeply God has tilled the fallow ground of a sinner’s heart before you sow the gospel seed?
Maybe your neighbor needs to hear the gospel one more time. Maybe your friend needs to hear one more testimony. Perhaps your relative needs just one more earnest prayer. Your witness, encouraging words, or prayers could be the final drop of water necessary for the gospel seed to germinate in a sinner’s soul. You might be laying a foundation for someone else, but you might be finishing it off, too.
Philip the evangelist would agree. Multitudes were saved when he preached the gospel in Samaria (Acts 8:5-13), and his success was largely due to the fact that he built on a foundation Christ already laid when He visited Samaria. The Samaritan leper who fell at Jesus’ feet was on his feet spreading the gospel before Philip showed up (Luke 17:16). Likewise, the Samaritan woman testified about Jesus long before Philip arrived (John 4:39). Philip simply poured water on thousands of gospel seeds that had already been sown.
Friend, never pass up an opportunity to share the gospel or encourage someone to mature in the faith. You are always laying a foundation or building on one. You are always planting the seed or watering it.
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).