April 16, 2016

2 Kings 20:6 “‘I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.'”

We view things through the lens of time, but God sees everything all at once. David had no idea that his faithfulness would bring an extra 15 years of life to one of his descendants and delay the downfall of Jerusalem. We tend to think we are living for ourselves and that our choices and actions affect only ourselves, but nothing could be further from the truth. We especially have no idea what effect our failures to act have on the world. That child we didn’t have might have been an inventor or a doctor or simply a really good, kind person who helped many. That word of warning we didn’t speak might have prevented a whole train of heartbreak. Of course we have the possibility of seeing the ripples of the words and actions we do take, but often they too escape our notice. Several years ago I was talking with a pastor whom I didn’t remember meeting before, and he said that some years previously I had said something to him in private conversation that had impacted his entire ministry since then, and he was grateful. Right now I don’t even remember what he said I told him! If we get paranoid about this sort of thing it can paralyze us, but steering clear of that, it is good to remember that God can and will use us in ways we can’t imagine, if we will be available and yielded to Him.

My own life is an echo of generations of people who loved and served God, and I am deeply grateful. Like David and Hezekiah, God has protected and blessed me on account of them. At the same time, I am fully responsible for the use I make of the opportunities I am given, so that they too may echo down through time. I recently got a call asking me to participate in the Centennial celebrations for Seinan University in Fukuoka on May 14th. I checked my calendar and found I had a wedding scheduled for that day, but since I haven’t done the counseling for it yet, I was able to call and cancel. I will be participating in the Centennial not for my own sake, but to honor my parents. The school as a whole was founded in 1916 by C. K. Dozier, but after WWII my father founded the University Department. I was an infant at the time, but I will be going to the ceremonies for my parents rather than for myself. Since my parents were very clear about their own commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and to sharing Him with the Japanese people, it is possible my presence will trigger memories in someone to draw them to Christ, or else the Lord may allow me to speak words, either in public or in private, that will have that effect. In any case, my task is to be available. Of course, that isn’t limited to special events like the Centennial; I am to be available at all times. It is God’s business what He does with the ripples from my words and actions, but I’ve got to be willing to make the splash.

Father, this isn’t something I’ve been thinking about, but it’s certainly important. I see so many people who think they are living only for themselves, with no grasp at all of the ripple effect they are having. I ask You to use me to open the eyes of the Christians especially, so that they may broaden their hearts to be intentional as Your agents, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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One Response to April 16, 2016

  1. dawnlizjones says:

    “It is God’s business what He does with the ripples from my words and actions, but I’ve got to be willing to make the splash.” What a truly faithful statement, as well as one that brings me much comfort. It’s not only NOT just about me, it’s also NOT just up to me. Hope your wife it progressing well!

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