November 29, 2016

2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

This passage, from here to the end of the chapter, has been abused as much as any part of the whole Bible. It is rich truth, but people have misapplied it to squeeze money out of others for their own gain. That’s tragic. The truths are real, but just as the devil quoted Psalm 91:12 to Jesus in order to tempt Him, (Luke 4:9-11) so those who are snared by the devil quote this passage to believers in order to deceive them. That never negates the original Scripture, but it points out the importance of reading things in context and interpreting the Bible by the Bible. The same Paul who wrote this passage also wrote, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10) That said, the principles expressed here are true. For the most part, you get out of things what you put into them. The problem there is that the input needs to be wise for the outcome to be good. Someone scattering seed in a parking lot isn’t going to get anything more than some happy birds! If we are listening obediently to the Holy Spirit, our investments, of time, energy, finances, or what have you, are going to bring an abundant return. The thing is, we have to let go emotionally of what we invest; we have to give it to God.

From the point I read this just now I have been somewhat under condemnation, because this applies to evangelism as well. After all, Jesus’ famous parable of the sower (Luke 8:1-15) was about sharing the Gospel. In 35 years of ministry in Omura I would have been delighted had I had a 1% return on my investment. That, frankly, has burned me out, and I haven’t done things like distribute tracts in a long time. That’s not good! I have heard several testimonies of tracts that bore fruit years after they were distributed. Japanese generally do not talk about matters of faith. They consider it intensely personal, and at the same time religion is seen as a matter of cultural/racial identity. That makes evangelism in Japan somewhat like scattering seed in a parking lot, as I just mentioned. However, just as seeds grow in cracks in pavement, and over time will destroy the pavement entirely, so the Gospel does penetrate here and there. I must not let visible results discourage me, but rather be faithful and allow the Holy Spirit show me where the cracks are, to drop seeds into them. Recently there have been some hopeful signs, which is all the more reason to be faithfully energetic. The harvest is indeed worth the labor!

Father, thank You for this reminder. We need to get invitations out for our Christmas programs, and so far I’ve dropped the ball on that. I need to be active in prayer and then faithful in follow-through in what You show me to do. I don’t want to waste time and energy, but I certainly don’t want to be stingy, just as this passage talks about. May I be faithful, to gain the harvest You intend 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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