I recently experienced something that illustrates the same dynamic with God's work. In the mid-1800's an illustrator made etchings of Bible scenes that were collected in a book published after his death. I stumbled upon a copy, but it sat in my basement for months until I showed it to my three year old daughter. The illustration of Jesus raising Jairus' daughter from the dead (Matt. 9:18-19, 23-26; Mark 5:22-24, 35-43; Luke 8:41-42, 49-56) caught her attention and I was able to use it to tell her about Jesus' power and love. That stuck her and now when we look at her children's Bible she wants to go right to the part where "Jesus made that little girl feel better."
That shows how God can produce fruit in ways beyond our understanding. He used a seed sown in the mid-nineteenth century to produce fruit early in the twenty-first century. All that occurred long after the etching was made, the artist was gone, and the world had changed in ways the artist couldn’t have possibly imagined. And that etching only had that effect because of the actions of others he had no control over (the editor and publisher of the posthumous book, its distributors, whoever owned the book before me, and me).
The point is that God is able to use our good works to far more effect than we can possibly imagine—if we use what he gives us in the first place.
(Images about gardening or soil related themes were posted October 3c, November 21, December 8, 2004 and February 28, June 11, 13 and 24, 2005.