In any ministry we undertake for the Lord, we do it for His glory and leave the results to Him. In the Book of Acts we see two men speak for God with entirely different outcomes. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, preaches a gospel message of how the Old Testament pointed to Jesus. He lays the blame of the crucifixion on his audience yet gives them the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. They respond in repentance and faith, and about 3,000 people are saved by grace (Acts 2).
Not long after this, a deacon named Stephen was “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:5), and he too preached a convicting message from the Old Testament. But instead of receiving the Truth, Stephen’s audience was filled with rage and stoned him to death (Acts 7).
This reminds us that when we serve God and try to help others, we are only responsible for our efforts—not people’s decisions. We can plant seeds and water them, but only God can cause plants and people to grow (1 Corinthians 3:7).
You may reach out to someone in Christian love, and their heart is moved to faith and living for God. You see another person struggling, but when you offer to help, they snap back with, “I don’t need your help!” Not exactly hitting us with stones, but bitter words still sting. We’re tempted then to pull back from serving. But God uses both our sufferings and successes for His glory and our good!
We’ll probably always feel inadequate to make a difference in someone’s life, but, “not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Let’s lovingly help others and leave the results with the Lord.