September 17, 2015

2 Corinthians 5:11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.

It has long been a mystery to me why so few Christians are active in trying to draw others into the Body of Christ, and I think this provides a clue. Few people indeed seem to fear the Lord these days, and many are in active defiance against Him. That essentially proves we’re a race of idiots, because true wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 111:10) Jesus told a parable of the banquet to which people didn’t want to come, after someone with Him had referred to “the feast in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 14:21) The upshot was, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.” (Luke 14:23) Those originally invited had not feared the Lord enough to show up, but the servants had to fear the Lord enough to overcome people’s resistance and make them come. We do need to mind Peter’s admonition to “do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15) but that doesn’t mean to be silent. If the Body of Christ had more respect for the Head, we’d get a lot more done!

I’m a fine one to talk here. Assorted methods of evangelism have been tried in Japan and found to have an extremely low success rate, but I haven’t been willing to put in the effort to keep doing those things for the sake of the few who do come to Christ. In other words, I haven’t kept my nose to the grindstone but instead have taken the easy path. That’s not fearing the Lord! Over the 34 years we have ministered in Omura I have baptized over 50 people, but some of those were never really planted here, and the vast majority have simply moved away for various reasons. I have never done an analysis of how each person was won to the Lord, but my memory tells me I had very little do do with it. There have been some individuals in whom I have invested a great deal of time and effort, seeking to persuade them as Paul did, but off hand I can’t recall any of those who have become active Christians. If I get to ruminating like this I can get pretty depressed! However, God does save some individuals gloriously even in this church, and I have been instrumental in their spiritual growth. I need to fear the Lord enough to do anything whatsoever He asks of me, but at the same time remember that any good results are all of Him.

Father, from this verse to the end of the chapter has been one of my favorite passages for a long time. I glory in the Ministry of Reconciliation that You have given to Your children. However, I would sure like to see more fruit from my efforts! Thank You for the birthday greeting from the brother whom I baptized who doesn’t currently live in town, praying that this coming year would be a year of bearing fruit. He knows my heart! We have all sorts of challenges facing us, with health challenges most immediate, but none of them present any difficulty to You whatsoever. Help us rest, relax, and rejoice in You, allowing You to do Your will in and through us on Your schedule 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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