Today’s Scripture: For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: Isaiah 28:10

My feelings on Saturday night were a mix of hope, anticipation, excitement, energy, and enthusiasm. After so much hard work, after so many long nights and days, after so much lifeblood pouring out of me Sunday after Sunday, it was awesome to see things turning around. We would finally have more people. We would have momentum to reach more souls for Christ.

Sunday morning came and it was time to start. A couple of people straggled in and sat down. I began the service hoping people had just overslept would arrive.

No one else came. Our regulars stayed around and talked afterwards. They seemed okay we hadn’t had more people, but I have to be honest with you – I was disappointed.

Like so many other times in the past year, it had felt like there just wasn’t much I could do right. I had prayed and prayed for this day. I had prayed over each chair. Was I a complete failure? What had I done wrong?

It turned out nothing was wrong. The work, the anticipation, the prayer, buying used chairs, having barely anyone to sit in those chairs — all this is normal for  church growth. It is the little known, hardly talked about aspect. All the glowing books say if you do this and that in just the correct order with perfect timing, you will see results.

What I’ve found to be true about church growth is stated the best in Isaiah 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

When I look back from over 45 years of ministry, I see this all in a different, broader perspective. But during those years, when we labored for what seemed like little reward, we knew we worked for a higher calling, something greater. Those prayers over the chairs weren’t wasted. I just didn’t realize the result of those prayers would be much greater than I could have ever hoped.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder