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19 July, 2022

Was it worth it?

Was it worth it?

Have you ever wondered whether the time and effort you put into people’s lives was worth it? Whether those you reached out to and helped actually appreciated what you did, and whether it changed their lives in any way?

I have wondered all of those things – and I am sure I am not alone. Recently I came across several Christians working with vulnerable people who were feeling on the edge of burnout, and thinking they might as well do something else, because their ministry didn’t seem to have born any fruit. Some of those they had helped had gone back to their old way of life, despite all that had been done for them.

I retired two years ago, and we moved out of the city centre. I hadn’t really been working with asylum seekers directly for a few years, and had lost touch with many of our former clients at the Boaz Trust in Manchester. Maybe I felt more isolated because of the Covid pandemic, but I began to wonder whether we had actually made that much difference.

One morning I was telling God just that: I’m not sure if I was praying or actually just thinking it. Most of my conversations with God tend to be a bit like that. Did we make a difference? Had they forgotten us? Was it all worth it? After all, I had heard virtually nothing from any of our former residents for what seemed like years.

The next day the phone rang. It was one of our first clients, a man who had fled persecution in Guinea and was resident with us for a couple of years. He rang because I had been on his mind. He just wanted to say thank you for the help he had received, and tell me that he was doing well, and was married with two children.

A couple of days later a former resident from Pakistan, who had become a Christian while in our accommodation, sent me a message on Facebook. He had just inherited his father’s business, and wanted to send me a rather expensive gift.

By this time I was in little doubt that God was directly answering my prayer query, so it came as no surprise when an email landed in my inbox later that week. A lovely Christian Eritrean lady we had housed had been talking to her Eritrean and Ethiopian friends, all of whom had been refused asylum and made homeless and destitute before we accommodated them. They wanted to invite me and Ros, the CEO at Boaz, for a meal and ‘Boaz Family get together’. That’s happening next week.

I believe God wants to convey the message – not just to me, but to everyone who wonders if their service has been worth it – that He is the God who knows our hearts, who sees what we have done, and wants us to know that it has indeed made a difference.

Be encouraged. We may never see the results of our work this side of heaven, but nothing that we do in His name is ever wasted.


Written by Dave Smith, Jubilee+ Refugee Network (Founder of, and Trustee for, the Boaz Trust

19 July, 2022

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