“Mark was walking home from school one day when the boy ahead of him tripped and dropped his books, two sweaters, a baseball glove, and other odds and ends. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered items. Since they were going the same way, he helped carry some of the stuff.
“As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved baseball and history, that he was having trouble with his other subjects, and that his girlfriend had just broken up with him.
“They arrived at Bill’s house and spent the afternoon in small talk and some laughs before Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together a few times, then both graduated from junior high. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years.
“Just three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.
“Bill reminded him of the day five years ago when they first met. ‘Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?’ he asked. ‘I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I’d stored away some of my mom’s sleeping pills, and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent time together talking and laughing, it turned things around for me. You see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more; you saved my life.’
“. . . How many times have we done small acts of kindness on earth without realizing the effects? How many times have we shared Christ with someone we thought didn’t take it to heart, but years later they came to the Lord partly because of the seeds we planted? How many times have we spoken up for unborn children and seen no result, but without our knowledge someone chose not to have an abortion, and a life was saved? How many dishes have been washed and diapers changed and crying children sung to in the middle of the night, when we couldn’t see the impact of the love we showed” How many times have we prayed and not seen an answer, when God was doing something great we won’t ever know about until heaven?
“. . . Those who spend their lives reaching out to Muslims and in other ‘low fruit’ ministries should remember God says, ‘It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,’ not successful (1 Corinthians 4:2, KJV). Of course, we want to be successful, but we can’t control the results. Those we must leave to God, reminding ourselves that one day we’ll learn of eternal results we never saw on earth.”
From In Light of Eternity by Randy Alcorn, pages 121 – 122