December 30, 2014

John 1:35-37 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.

This little episode shows that Andrew and John were genuinely seeking God, rather than just being attracted to John the Baptist. It also shows that John the Baptist operated in genuine humility, pointing people to God rather than to himself. Many disciples and many teachers aren’t really like that. Some disciples of teachers in various fields essentially worship the ground their teacher walks on, rather than being fully committed to what they are being taught. And, sadly enough some teachers actually encourage that sort of thing, going on ego trips more often than speaking trips. The fees and perks demanded by such people can be absurd. Closer to home, no teacher likes to lose disciples to someone else, for a number of reasons. However, if that person is a teacher of the Word, of the Gospel, then their commitment must be to God rather than to their career. That can be a hard thing at times, particularly in a small church that is struggling to have the funds to pay the pastor. Many pastors feel like “These are MY sheep,” forgetting that they are simply assistant shepherds. Deliberate “sheep stealing” is certainly reprehensible, but every pastor needs to remember that the flock belongs first to God.

This is indeed close to home, because this church has acted like a “feeder church” to others throughout its history. In 30 years I’ve baptized probably over 100 people, but our current attendance is only around a dozen. We’ve had plenty of people move away, even to other countries, but some are right here in town. That can be painful! I have known the truth of it being Christ’s flock for many years, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting a larger group right here. For one thing, I have my secular teaching, and now pension, as a source of income, but I want to be able to pass this church on to a younger pastor who would probably not have such income, and I want the church to be able to support him properly. As it is right now, if I were to retire and leave, the church would be in dire straits. The Lord has given me a verse for next year about harvest; I can only pray that we will have harvest indeed, to provide a solid foundation in all areas for the succession that will eventually come.

Father, this is something I try not to dwell on, but it gets to me from time to time. Help me be faithful and active, not giving up on any level but staying available to You, trusting that Your plans are good, and that they will be revealed at the proper time, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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