Sowing Seeds

It’s easy for me to get discouraged and feel like my efforts aren’t accomplishing much. I see people whose words are quoted, books are read, and opinions valued and realize: that’s probably never gonna be me.

Rather than sulk in the reality that I’m no current or future celebrity, I’m growing more content that my life really does count, whether or not I get an author page on One encouragement is the realization that the some of the most influential people in my life 1) didn’t set out to influence me, and 2) probably don’t realize the impact they have had.

More than any well-known preacher (and I’m a big supporter of Piper and Keller), the people who have made me who I am today aren’t well-known. They are mostly men, old and young, who have cared about me and shown me different facets of Godliness. I’m been molded by hard-working honest farmers, as well as men without a callus who can quote the entire book of Philippians and have an other-worldly prayer life.

One of the most influential relationships of my life, in terms of life trajectory, is barely a relationship at all. A guy, then a college freshman, coached me at a baseball camp when I was 13. I thought he was so cool with his metal spikes and professional-level Rawlings glove. And his love for Jesus showed through his goofy personality.

Three or four years later, I saw him standing in line at a Bebo Norman concert and we exchanged email addresses. Right away, he suggested that we read a book by a guy I had never heard of and email our observations back-and-forth. I gave him my mailing address, received the book the next week, and didn’t talk to the guy again until I saw him at a local park five years later.

The book? Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper. It changed almost everything that I believed about worship and missions and, well, Christianity. It changed my life. Especially since I was able to read it and talk about the crazy claims Piper and the Bible were making with two humble, patient Christian men.

I try to sow the same seeds, wondering and dreaming about the impact they might have one day. A glimpse that God is doing some watering is this: Kassie and I decided to eat at the same restaurant (basically) every time we ate out in Hannibal. That caused us to become friends with the staff and owner of a local Mexican restaurant. I tried to share the Gospel a few times, but gave up at the slightest resistance.

One day, our favorite waiter there committed two murders. After trying unsuccessfully to see him in jail, I got a call one night and he invited me to come and visit. As I went back each week for months, his shame and pain turned to hope and Godly sorrow. God changed his heart and gave him a hunger to read and share the story of the Bible. He wants to be a pastor one day!

I’m no super-evangelist and I’m not smooth with my words in tight situations. Nevertheless, my failings and limitations show off the power of God to change someone’s heart. Be encouraged to keep humbly loving God and sowing seeds for the Kingdom.

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About Brian Phillips

Brian lives in Spain with Kassie and their kids.
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