It was another typical Sunday. Some folks listened intently to my words. Others looked disinterested. One person laughed at serious moments. A few others walked in late. Two of those walking in late were usually late. This husband and wife sat in the back and this Sunday seemed no different than all the rest.

Later that day, on the beach, the late-arriving husband approached to remind me this was his last Sunday with Agapé Chicago. He and his wife were moving back to California, a place that always felt way more like home for them. But he did not come just to say goodbye, he came to offer an encouragement.

His words went something like this, “Agapé has meant a lot to me, even if it seems like I haven’t always been that interested—I have learned a lot and I just wanted to say ‘thank you’.”

A few months later I received this text from Jake Aldrich, one of our elders, “Hey man-I’ll call you later. Talking to Naomi…Wes died in a spear fishing accident.”

Wes’ last words to me, for he was the husband who encouraged me, immediately came to mind. My thoughts turned to consideration of the brevity of life, the importance of everyone that we encounter, and the significance of the seemingly insignificant Sundays that pile one on top of another.

It reminds me of Jesus’ words: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33).

Yeast is unseen, unappreciated, and hardly noticeable. The Kingdom of God grows in unseen, surprising ways–in fact that is the only way the Kingdom of God grows. It is grown precisely because a seed fell to the ground and died, so that other fruit might grow. Jesus is the seed that died that we might enjoy His fruits, that we might enjoy the riches of His Kingdom.

We can easily be discouraged in service and love when it seems like our sacrifices make so little difference, when our “little deaths” of giving ourselves for the sake of others makes no obvious difference. The story of Wesley reminds me that my, that our works, as the people of God is not in vain, for God chooses the unseen and subtle things in life to bring growth.

Family, labor on trusting Jesus to do great work in the unseen ways of service. Remember Wesley and love trusting God works through all that we offer others in the name of Jesus.

Pastor Jeremiah