February 15, 2017

Genesis 26:12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him.

To be honest, most of the messages I’ve heard that used this verse were distortions of Biblical truth. “Prosperity Gospel” preachers link this to such passages as 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 and talk about “seed faith,” saying that if you “plant” offerings into their ministry you will get a hundredfold in return. I won’t say that never happens, but when it does, it is by the urging of the Holy Spirit and not by the pleading of some preacher. What this verse says to me right now is that if you don’t plant, you won’t harvest, but that has very little to do with money. If you aren’t getting out the Good News of salvation, then people won’t be added to the Family of God. It is true that often we harvest what others have planted, but somebody had to plant! By the same token, seed that we plant is often for others to harvest. God will bless us, but we are not to be passive, even if we don’t see any direct fruit of our labors.

This is extremely applicable to anyone ministering in Japan, because by any objective measure, Japan has the lowest rate of return on investment of personnel, time, and money of any country when it comes to evangelism. God made it very clear that this was where He wanted me to be, but I can’t say it’s been easy. I’ve got to keep my eyes on Him and keep planting, rejoicing in whatever harvest I see but not making my obedience dependent on “results.” That’s not to say I’m not to examine how I do things, so that I may improve my plowing, planting and watering, but it is to say I’m to find my joy in serving Him, knowing that my reward will eventually make it all more than worth it. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Father, this has been a particularly rough few days, with the rejection from the Agricultural Land Committee coming in the middle of a bad cold. That’s real training in “giving thanks for everything!” (Ephesians 5:20) Help me focus indeed on pleasing You, on how You see me, rather than on how anyone else views me, so that I may be available for whatever You want to do through me, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for 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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