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“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Yesterday morning we attended a Thanksgiving service that included an open mic for “brief” testimonies. We enjoy these kind of services periodically and the expressions of thanks and overcoming faith touched our hearts as we saw God at work in individual lives.
For many years Paul Hollinger was the General Manager of WDAC, one of our local Christian radio stations, retiring about 15 years ago. He has had health problems the last several years but continues to express a vibrant, overcoming faith as expressed in his testimony yesterday. He and his wife Sylvia recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and look great, as you can see in the photo. They’re a very engaging couple when we join them in conversation.
After the service Paul shared a story with me that I found very interesting in light of our chaplain work. We see many Vietnamese people who have immigrated to the USA. We still have a language barrier with some of them but they seem to understand our purpose and care as we seek to be a witness for Christ. The other day we were in a store and one of the Vietnamese ladies spotted Brooksyne, ran over and gave her a big hug! Though communications are limited, interest in another’s well-being can be conveyed in other ways.
Paul explained, at the time Vietnam fell to communism in the mid-seventies, there were many refugees who came to the states. One group was temporarily housed at “Fort Indian Town Gap” an Army facility in our area. At that time the station was running a Public Service Announcement (PSA) requesting local families to host a Vietnamese family. Paul heard the announcement on his own station and sensed the Lord speaking to him that this is something he should do.
The Hollinger children were still at home but Paul and Sylvia felt they had enough room to host a couple so they took in a young couple who had just gotten married at the Fort. The couple stayed a short time to get their feet on the ground and moved on to living independently. Fast forward 43 years and the Vietnamese couple who presently reside in California stay in regular contact with the Hollingers and are very grateful for their role in the early years of their arrival in America. In fact Paul said the man has a very successful career in tech in the Silicon Valley.
- Don and Tabitha Nguyen along with daughters Abigail, Kayla and Maria
We heard another testimony from a family who sat in front of us in the service. They are missionaries to Cambodia where their service includes ministry to Vietnamese refugees in that country. Don came as a Vietnamese refugee, accepted the ways of the Lord, and now with his family is spreading the Gospel and seeking to make disciples for Christ.
Today, let us consider the ripple effect of ministry. Picture throwing a stone into a pond and noting the ripples as they expand outward from the point the stone hit the water. Ripple after ripple expanding outward. In ministry sometimes we see the ripples, sometimes we don’t. Rarely do we see the distant ripples but they are still there.
Today’s Bible texts are both portions we memorized early in our journey. It’s one thing to reflect on these verses looking forward to life and ministry. Although we are still in the race and looking ahead, as we get older there’s a lot of looking back as well, and that can be a good thing.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Many commentators see this in the sense of one who is battling discouragement, a major obstacle for those serving Christ. Even as Jesus had those who were unreceptive and walked away (John 6:66) as well as Paul (2 Timothy 4:10) so will we. We accept the promise that in “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (some versions state “do not grow weary”).
2 Timothy 2:2 was a major focus verse while we were preparing for ministry back in the seventies. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”.
- There’s a period in life when we are mostly receiving. This is particularly true of our childhood and youth years. Although we are not hearing directly from Jesus and His disciples we are subject to their teachings. For us this is the apostolic teaching, those truths faithfully conveyed from the Bible.
- Then there’s a period in life when we are mostly entrusting these truths to others. We should always be receiving but increasingly we give. We teach, lead programs, serve in a variety of ways. Even before and following our Bible College training that’s what we’ve sought to do.
- Then there’s a period in life when those to whom we have entrusted truth are teaching others also. This is the ripple effect of ministry. Although we should keep receiving and we should keep teaching, the ripple effect becomes a bigger and bigger part of our impact. This is increasingly the case as we get older. However, only in eternity will we see fuller evidence of the ripple effect!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are grateful for those who have chosen to follow You and influenced others to walk in the paths of righteousness. Of course, we are only a mouthpiece and a living example of how Your grace and forgiveness can change one’s life, but that’s one essential method You choose to spread the gospel. May we be found faithful in living a life that honors you, by telling and showing others the way to salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.