Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
I came to the States back in 2018 to study in a graduate school at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus. I came alone. My hometown was 6,248 miles away from Minneapolis. There was no one, no family nor friends who lived nearby. I was totally alone.
Fortunately, on the very first day I moved into a small apartment in Minneapolis, my roommate introduced me to a Korean girl who lived in the same apartment complex. She was attending the School of Pharmacy in the same school. She helped me to get a student ID, open a bank account, and gave me a ride to the grocery store and IKEA. It was back in 2008 when only a few had a smartphone, and there was no Uber, Instacart, or DoorDash. Thanks to her help, my life became much easier. She was really a Godsend.
She invited me to a young adult gathering at her church on Friday night. Korean dishes, worship, bible study, and fellowship with other Korean young adults sounded fun. Actually, Korean dishes were the main reason I decided to go, though. It turned out to be the beginning of my faith journey that changed my life entirely.
As my faith grew, I teamed up with her and a couple of other church friends to start a ministry for new Korean students who came to study abroad at the University of Minnesota and nearby colleges. Like she did for me, we helped the new students settle down, from picking them up from the airport when they arrived in the States. It took so much time and effort to help them out, but we all did it joyfully.
We expanded the ministry for the new students to a gathering on holidays. When the new students came to the States alone, they enjoyed freedom and independence at first. They were able to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. But such pleasure did not last long. During a long weekend or on holidays, people who lived with or had family nearby seemed to have a special plan to enjoy the day while they did not have anything to do but chores. The worst thing was that the school cafeteria was closed and no restaurants and stores near campus were open on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day. That was why our church hosted a gathering on holidays with a full course of Korean dishes. Adults at the church brought home-cooked food as if they were feeding their own family. We became a family to the lonely students. They became a family to us.
If someone asks how many of the new students we helped were actually led to faith in Christ, my answer would be that I do not know for sure. We had students who joined our church thanks to the ministry we offered, but the "yield" was not as high as we hoped. But we felt okay because we thought our ministry was more like planting a seed. The students experienced our love that originated from the love of God toward them. They tasted a glimpse of loving fellowship with us. They had a good impression of Christians and the church. We just faithfully did the work inspired by God, and it was enough. Who knows that the seed we planted would grow and flourish and bear fruit later? Who knows they would become a leader of ministry as I changed from a beneficiary to a giver?
Sometimes you may wonder whether the ministries you are currently a part of bear any fruit. You may question the yield rate of your work. Frankly speaking, if we consider the efficiency and productivity of the ministries from the perspective of the secular business world, we would have had to close the church long ago. We often expect to see the fruits of our labor immediately, but that is not always the case. We need to remind ourselves that we plant the seeds, but it is God who makes them grow, flourish, and bear fruit. What we need to do is carry out the tasks given by God diligently and remain faithful in doing so.
I also encourage you to pay more attention to those you encounter in your daily life. Everything you do is a part of your ministry. Ministries are not something you do only at and through the church. People see Christ through you. They get to know about God and the church through you. Your small act of kindness may leave a great impression and open their hearts to God. You are a living witness of the living God. Who knows, some of the people who encounter you and experience the love of God through you may become great disciples of Christ later.
Let us faithfully carry out the daily ministries given by God without worrying about the yield. God will take care of the rest.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for calling us to be disciples of Christ. Help us become living witnesses to your grace and love to all those we encounter daily. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.
About Arum Kim
Pastor Arum joined this loving St. Thomas family as an associate pastor in the Summer of 2020, with her husband Joon, and two beautiful daughters, Virginia and Charlotte.