If you made a list of the million dollar ideas of the twentieth century, you’d probably have to include something called the Polaroid camera. Now, you might be too young to remember that. I could take you to the museum, but it was a great invention in its time. What was the worst part of taking pictures then? It was waiting for them to be developed. The Polaroid concept introduced the revolutionary idea of developing your photo right on the spot, and then you would know whether you got what you shot. That was way before cell phone technology of course. So with the Polaroid, if you cut off everybody’s heads when you took their picture, you can take it again and they could have heads in the next picture. We’re naturally impatient to see what the result of our effort is with our pictures, right? And with people.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “People Aren’t Polaroids.”
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Galatians 6, and I’m reading verse 9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” This verse talks about doing good in people’s lives. And as you know, that doing of good often shows no visible result at least for a while. But if you will keep sowing good seed, the Bible says, when it looks like it’s having no effect – the person couldn’t care less – suddenly you will ultimately reap a satisfying harvest.
Now, it could be that you need to hear that right now because you’ve been living Christ, and you’ve been sharing Christ in the life of someone who just doesn’t seem to get it. They don’t care, they don’t seem to be responding, seems like they don’t even want to hear it right now and it’s like you’re talking to a brick wall. Right? It could very well be it’s even a member of your own family. Remember, Jesus said the farmer’s job is to scatter seed, not to make it grow; you just get it out there.
Even if you’re not seeing any result in the life of someone or the lives of some people, keep on sowing this verse says. That doesn’t mean pestering, or pushing, or pressuring. Just like patiently loving, gently sprinkling biblical values when you have a natural, spontaneous opening to do it.
I remember when Becky got a call at the age of thirty from a woman who said, “Are you the Becky that I knew in high school?” She said, “Yeah, I am.” It turns out they’d been friends in junior high but then they’d gone two different ways. Becky had gone on to really follow Christ, and this girl went into the party scene. But now she’s calling out of nowhere. She said, “Becky, I’ve looked all over. I finally got your married name. I finally tracked you down because my life is falling apart. My husband has left me, but I’ve got to ask you a question before I tell you any more. Becky, are you like still close to God?” Wow! Thirteen years had passed. She didn’t go to the party people; she went to the person she could remember – the God person who had faithfully sown Bible seed in her life.
We forget that people aren’t a suddenly developed Polaroid picture. They don’t usually develop right away. You have to wait to see what impression you have made. And while you’re waiting it’s easy to give up, because you don’t see any impression. Well, seed that is sown yields nothing visible for quite a while. Ask any farmer.
But God has guaranteed you a harvest in the life of that child, in your marriage, in those Sunday School class kids, the Bible study people, the people in your church, the youth group, the friends you have, those coworkers. He’s guaranteed you a harvest if you won’t quit. “At the proper time,” it says, “we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Someone you care about will eventually get the picture if you’ll be patient while they develop.