I received a gift from the Lord last night: a reward for being obedient many years ago. One day about 10 years ago, while sitting in my home one afternoon, a very strong prompting from the Holy Spirit came over me to call a certain young woman from our church and invite her to come to a small study in my home–just her, another young mom and me. As I remember it, I had been praying about what God wanted me to be “doing next” specifically. When I felt this prompting of the Holy Spirit, instead of waiting, thinking and praying about it, as I normally would have done, I got up, walked to the phone and called her! There were multiple reasons why this was so unusual! 1) I hardly knew her! 2) I didn’t have any idea what the Lord wanted us to study! and 3) I told her we would start almost immediately! The most amazing thing was that she said yes right away! The Lord had obviously prepared her heart, for she was genuinely excited!
Now, years later, I am reaping the great rewards of obedience that day! Everybody would like to have a “disciple” like her. First, when I called her, it really was because God was answering *her* prayer! She had been down on her knees praying for someone to disciple her, crying out to Him, right in her kitchen! The fact is, I’ve learned at least as much, if not more, from her life as she has from mine! Second, she was ready, with a capital R, to hear everything I had to share and very, very teachable. She was so excited about growing in the Lord, and God had made her thirsty and hungry for more of Him. Third, my friend always came with questions. And so I was not feeling that I was forcing her in a certain direction, but her questions tied in perfecly, (of course I know that it was the Lord powefully weaving all beautifully together), because the Lord was convicting her to make changes in areas which I’d never said a word about, but they were subjects that I planned to address. Her humility and sensitivity to hearing from the Lord has always been such an example to me.
When we met 10 years ago, her children were about 2 and 5 years old (our children babysat them while we had our study). She and her husband were planning to enroll them in public school. After a short stint in the local elementary school, they brought their daughter home and they’ve been Homeschooling ever since. During the time their daughter was going to public school I prayed fervently for them to Homeschool every time I drove past the school which is near our house.
Last night we were privileged to have their family in our home for a meal again. We are also blessed to have my father-in-law staying with us this week. My friend’s children are now 14 and 11 and have grown so much, in every way. When we have company, we always enjoy sharing musically, and having our guests play for us, if they’re willing, so, knowing that these children play the piano and violin, and are taking a speech class, too, I had phoned my friend and asked if her children would like to share something. I knew that Grandpa would really be blessed by hearing them, as well! Near the end of the evening, their children favored us with a mini-program of a recitation and duets on the piano and violin, followed by a trilogy of old familiar hymns, played on the piano by our daughter. It was such a delight! The recitation of Pilgrim’s entry through the Pearly Gates (from Pilgrim’s Progress) was being prepared by this lovely 14-year-old for a contest, and she did a beautiful job. I was especially enthralled, however, by the musical numbers they played! They obviously both have some real natural talent! (This was a particular delight hearing just how beautifully they play, as I remembered with satisfaction that we introduced them to their amazingly gifted piano teacher, Mrs. Schloner, who was also our teacher. I know that she works with both of them on preparing their duets.) However, it was the gorgeous tone coming out of the violin which really took me by surprise! I hadn’t heard their son play before, and it was such a pleasant surprise and pure bliss to listen to him. And he’s only 11! Watching them, I felt this was definitely one of the deep blessings of Homeschooling, and one of the rewards of discipling for me. Homeschooling, having your children gain confidence, as these children obviously have, through speech and music lessons, is something that *perhaps* they could get through public school, but the joy of the closeness of the relationships of brother-sister, of mother-daughter, and father-son are “homegrown”, requiring much time together, and being out of the world (and are “out of this world”!) and the pleasure they receive of hearing skilled music in their home daily as the children practice together, and hearing the laughter as they work and play together, becoming each other’s best friends–well, there just wouldn’t be time for it all if they were public-schooled.
The Lord has blessed me bountifully for the little sowing that I did. He multiplied my meager efforts, as He always does. I’m reminded of the verse we read this morning in family devotions: 2 Corinthians 9:6–“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” However, when I “sowed” (even a little) love, time, prayer, and the Word into her life, I had no idea what a bountiful harvest of blessing I would receive through the years: her friendship, the joy from seeing her family walking with the Lord, receiving from her at times counsel in some area I needed correction in, and now I have almost a “parental pride” in her life. I’m grateful that, on that afternoon, I obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and also that she asked lots of great questions about subjects such as: how to dress modestly, how to foster close Godly relationships with her daughter, how to submit to her husband, Homeschooling questions and many, many more! I have reaped so abundantly more than I sowed, but I am so very grateful for God’s gift of a bountiful harvest of blessing.