Unless a grain of wheat shall fall upon the ground and die, it remains but a single grain with no life.
I have a stalk of semi-crushed wheat in a plastic bag that I use as a book mark in my Bible. It is to remind me each day at our morning devotions that as a Christian I may never see the results of my earthly pilgrimage, I may never get to see any results of my spiritual battles, that I may close my eyes in death never having believed my life made any difference and that is simply got to be okay with me.
Americans are very results oriented. I know I am. I was taught, "Be good and you will reap a reward" day in and day out at a child. Each Cinderella gets a handsome prince, each good work gets a gold star by your name somewhere. Without knowing it America placed in me a need to see my good works displayed before men so I could be patted and cooed upon like televangelists and pastors. I wanted to be a true hero for the Lord--famous and rich--so I could give huge amounts to charity. Then I could afford to take my personal jet to third world countries and pay for water wells and food and clothing for all the poor people. Then everyone would know I loved the Lord. People would like me and think I was a great Christian.
I think many American Christians have this need to see a reward, an earthly reward, of being a Christian hero to one degree or another--some by posting cute little Facebook memes in order to be "liked." Some by mission trips or becoming a church leader.
One evening I realized that this promise of a "happily ever after" Christianity is pagan. We as Christians do our duty for God and we should expect no reward until heaven. That's a shock to an American! We work with no pay, no results? Yes. No thank-yous? No high-fives from other Christians? No Christian-of-the-month certificate? No hospital named after me? No local charity? No public award? What about my name on a gold donation plaque on the back of the pew?
Obedience to God will mean a lifetime of spiritual battle and we may never see the end of the skirmish we are in, but we know that the battle has already been won. That is faith. We may never see any of our personal victories but with the eyes of hope.
Whatever battle you face in your life, whatever your spiritual calling, know that even if you expend yourself to exhaustion and you give and give until there is nothing more to give, you have not failed if you see no earthly results. As long as you are battling for the Lord you never battle in vain.
Be a grain of wheat. It is only after its sacrifice of death in the soil that it reaps a harvest. Never give up even if you never see the fruits of your labors for Christ. There are great surprises awaiting you in the next life.