March 30, 2017


Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Several times Moses stresses that the Israelites aren’t to forget what they have experienced, but are to pass that information on to succeeding generations. We tend to forget that at that point they had no Bible, and most of the people were likely illiterate anyway. The only way to communicate over time was through repeated oral tradition. Granted, that was far more developed back then, out of sheer necessity, than it is today, but that still didn’t make it easy. America today is a good example of what happens in just a few dozen years if the process of teaching young people gets neglected or skewed. Man-on-the-street interviews expose almost unbelievable ignorance of the most basic facts of American history, and far too many schools teach hatred of America. That’s tragic enough, but ignorance of God is even worse. Frankly, that too has greatly increased in the US. The point is, those who do know God must be active in communicating that knowledge to others, or it simply dies out. God can and does reveal Himself supernaturally at times, but His fundamental plan is for His children to reproduce spiritually. Biological reproduction is all well and good, but spiritual reproduction is even more important, because physical life without eternal life is a “passing breeze,” as the Psalmist said. (Psalm 78:39) Many people wonder what their life means, why they exist, and those who know God are responsible to share their own knowledge of God so that others may know as well. We are not enjoined to teach philosophy; Moses is clear about teaching personal experience. That’s all the more reason to seek to experience God more so that we will have more to teach!

This certainly applies to me, since as a pastor my whole life is dedicated to teaching others about God. The thing is, if it remains their knowledge of my experience, it won’t do them that much good. My goal must be for them to experience Him themselves, and so choose to feed on His Word and grow in Him. I do need to share my own experiences so that what I teach will be far more than abstract. As a Teacher I tend to feel that just dumping truth on people should be sufficient, but it seldom is. I need to come alongside them and teach them how to get into the Word themselves, and I haven’t been very good at that. Of course, we are all dependent on the Holy Spirit, because as Paul said, spiritual truths are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:12) My teaching must be preceded, supported, and followed up with prayer. I have plenty of room to grow there! God desires a big family, and I need to be totally committed and obedient to Him for that purpose.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the upcoming new fiscal year. Japanese churches, and Japanese society in general, make much more of that than I would on my own, but it is a good opportunity to reexamine the how and the why of doing things. Thank You for the theme You’ve given me for Sunday’s message. I pray that both my preparation and my delivery would be fully guided and empowered by Your Spirit, so that Your truth would indeed communicate to each one and produce rich fruit, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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