The Investment of Time By Scott Rodin
An Eternal Perspective on Time Invested
As we use these last days of 2021 to look back on how we invested our time in 2021 and look ahead to all that the new year might bring, I want to encourage us to assess our lives, our work, and our moment in history from an eternal perspective. To help us, I want to share an abbreviated version of a wonderful story that I pray encourages you in these closing days of the year.
The story is told by Aggie Hurst. In 1921, her parents, David and Svea Flood went from Sweden as missionaries to the heart of Africa. They felt called by the Lord to go out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area. There they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. Forced to build a small mud hut half a mile up the slope, the only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood—a tiny woman of only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus.
And in fact, she succeeded. But there were no other encouragements.
Svea became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl they named Aina. The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea lasted only another seventeen days. Inside David Flood, something snapped. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took Aida back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to his missionary friends, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.”
Little Aina went with the missionary couple back to the US and her name was changed to Aggie. She grew up in South Dakota, married and had children. One day in a Swedish religious missionary magazine she found a photo taken in a primitive setting with a grave whose white cross bore the words SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie jumped in her car and went straight to a college faculty member who she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded. The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago…the birth of a white baby…the death of the young mother…the one little African boy who had been led to Christ…and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village.
The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ…the children led their parents to Christ…even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village… All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.
What We Need to Hear
Two final parts of her story are important for us to hear.
First, Aggie reunited with her father and was able to share with him the impact of their time, restoring his faith before he died.
Second, Aggie later met the superintendent of the national church of Zaire, representing some 110,000 baptized believers.
He told her this story. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”
I am so moved by this story of how God took the seeming failure of the work and investment of the life of David and Svea Flood and used it to bring revival and transformation to an entire country. The smallest act of faithfulness in the hands of God can have immeasurable eternal consequences.
As you look back on 2021, how might God be using your own acts of faithfulness to do more for His kingdom than you may ever know or even imagine? And looking forward to 2022, what small, seemingly insignificant acts of faithfulness might God lead you to do that He will ultimately use to for His kingdom work?
My encouragement to us is that we all cultivate an eternal perspective for every daily act of obedience, that we will plant and water faithfully in 2022, trusting God for the increase, and that we will experience a holy contentment as we invest every opportunity to which He calls us be faithful stewards for His glory.
Happy New Year
Scott Rodin is Senior Consultant/Chief Strategy Officer for The Focus Group. Over the past thirty-eight years Scott Rodin has helped hundreds of organizations improve their effectiveness in leadership, fund development, strategic planning and board development.
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