November 16, 2016

Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

I am honored to say that I have known many who have had this attitude. I’m part of an Internet mailing group that includes retired Japan missionaries and MKs (missionary kids), and in the past couple of days we have been asked to pray that one retired missionary would be able to hold on until his son arrived. That prayer was answered, and yesterday the word was that the missionary was dividing his time among “sleeping, praying, and preaching!” What a glorious testimony! The better we understand that our time on earth is for getting to know our heavenly Father and serving Him, rather than any personal agenda, the more joy and satisfaction we will have and the more ready we will be to spend eternity with Him, whenever He says we’ve been here long enough. We are so easily distracted by things that ultimately make no difference. Jesus’ instructions to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) aren’t just so that we will have our needs met, they are a guideline for all of life. There is no higher privilege than being used by God to draw someone into His family, His kingdom, and yet so many have never had that joy. An amazing number of Christians think they can’t, when the power isn’t theirs to begin with. No merely human being can give anyone eternal life, but God can use anyone who is yielded to Him to perform that miracle. You can’t force anyone to repent and believe for their salvation, but you can be faithful to speak the truth in love so that the Holy Spirit may use your words to draw someone into life. The better we understand that, the more we will have this attitude expressed by Paul.

I think I can honestly echo Paul here, and I am deeply grateful. I have had a lot of excellent examples to follow! Growing up on the mission field I learned that missionaries are just as human as anyone, and they can be a lot of fun. We MKs referred to them as “Uncle” this and “Aunt” that, and we were indeed family to each other, particularly because of physical distance from “blood kin.” It was pretty unusual that one of my mother’s first cousins was a missionary in Fukuoka with us, so he and his family were “double kin!” In such an environment, it’s not surprising that Nate Saint’s famous statement has always seemed totally logical to me: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Life on this earth is temporary, period. Life in Christ is eternal, and is worth sharing with as many as will receive it.

Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of drawing others into Your family. I’ve not been “an Evangelist,” but You have been faithful. I would love to see many more! Keep me from trying to set my own agenda. Rather, help me hear You accurately and obey You faithfully, so that I will have no regrets when You say it’s time to come home. 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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