April 23, 2016

2 Chronicles 33:10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.

What a common tale this is! God really is speaking constantly, but so little attention is paid to Him. We are so caught up in the news of the day, and now in social media, that we have no time for the Word of the Lord and talking with Him. Down through history God has made Himself available to His people in many ways, but few of them paid any attention at all. In this particular case, God put Manasseh into a really severe situation just to get his attention, and it worked, but his son was so polluted by Manasseh’s bad example that he was assassinated just two years after ascending to the throne. Our actions affect more than us! To me, one of the major lessons of the Bible, and of history as a whole, is that as has been said, no man is an island; all of us are interrelated. We need to seek God for ourselves, certainly, but also for the sake of those who are influenced by us. We may think we have no influence, but that is never true. Even if we have no children, there are people who are impacted by what we do or fail to do. We are called to be godly examples, at the very least. Some people rise to prominence and influence many and some seem to be unknown, to influence hardly anyone at all. However, the real story there might be in their failure to influence for good when they had opportunity. A hymn of a generation ago says, “Let others see Jesus in you.” If we are dedicated to listening obediently to God, then others will indeed see Jesus in us and will be drawn to Him. We may not think we influence very many people, but God knows, and I think that when we get to heaven we’ll be really surprised to find all the impact we have had on others.

This is something I have struggled with at times, sometimes wanting to be totally anonymous and sometimes wanting to have a more dramatic impact. I have to leave it in God’s hands! As a Caucasian in Japan I have always been noticeable. That has made me want to “blend into the woodwork” every once in a while, but that never works very well for very long. I feel like a misfit in the US! As a pastor, particularly in dealing with young people, I often have difficulty in getting the message of our interconnectedness across to people. The lesson of accountability is often not received well! However, I have to make the best use I can of the influence I have to push and draw them in the right direction. I am to be faithful, not just for my own sake but for the sake of everyone I touch, whether I am aware of that touch or not.

Father, this is a really deep subject. Only You know all the connections anyone has. Help me not be anxious about it all, and especially not to think it’s all about me. Help me rather be so focused on You that Your presence in me will accomplish Your will on every level, drawing many into Your family for their salvation and 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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