Serving God; December 23, 2017


Matthew 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Joseph sometimes gets overlooked in the Christmas story, but he was a vital component of God’s plan. Here, and later when they needed to escape from Herod, (Matthew 2:13-14) he exercised enough faith to act in obedience to a dream. How many of us have that kind of faith? God chose His Son’s foster father carefully, and it was obviously an excellent choice. I’m sure there were times when Joseph wished He had chosen someone else, just as there were with Moses and Jeremiah, just to give a couple of examples. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and His choices are always right. Sometimes they are provisional and change, as in the case of King Saul, for example. However, such examples are rare. As I see it, if we are worried we will be a Saul, we almost certainly won’t be, because we’ll be seeking God’s help most earnestly. A far more common issue is people who refuse to serve God because they can’t believe that God is big and strong enough to overcome their weaknesses. That seems to be particularly strong in Japan, where volunteering is sometimes seen as a kind of showing off. Joseph’s lesson for us is to offer all we have and are to God for Him to use however He pleases, trusting that God will provide everything necessary, in terms of ability as well as resources, for us to accomplish His will.

I have run through the gamut on this issue, from feeling I was the best thing since sliced bread to feeling totally incompetent and unable to do anything. God has allowed me to go through that to teach me that indeed, I can do nothing apart from Him, but if I will abide obediently in Him, I will bear abundant fruit for His glory. (John 15:5) We have been going through another training period, with seemingly declining fruitfulness in recent years culminating in intense spiritual attack over the past few months. In the process He has shown me yet again that He is able to do anything at all, and He is even able to use me to do it. I believe He is bringing us into an extended season of real fruitfulness. I am to keep my eyes on Him and look forward actively to what He is going to do, both to avoid traps and to make the most of every opportunity, (Colossians 4:5) for His glory.

Father, thank You for Your grace. At times it is downright overwhelming! Thank You for what You are bringing us through. Thank you that the operative word is indeed, through. Thank You that what You have prepared on the other side is glorious indeed. I do pray Your very best for everyone involved, both those in this church and those who are not yet in it. I pray that each one would be given the courage to choose to follow and obey You, for their salvation and eternal blessing and 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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