Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
A major focus of my teaching ministry over the years has been the Biblical reality that we are Christ’s representatives. Of course 2 Corinthians 5:20 is central to that, but this verse really brings it home. It is important to note that Jesus didn’t say this just to the 12 apostles, but to the larger group that He sent out. Some people claim to want to hear from God, but if a person of God speaks a word of correction to them, they reject it, and often the messenger who speaks it. No human messenger is perfect, so we need the Holy Spirit to help us “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) However, a fundamental humility is essential. Since God used a donkey to speak to Balaam, (Numbers 22) He might use just about anybody to speak to us! However, some people have the reverse problem, taking people’s responses to what they say personally, and either getting conceited or getting down on themselves. Again, we are back to Balaam’s donkey. If God could speak through a donkey, why couldn’t He speak through you? Don Francisco makes that point very well, and with humor, in one of his songs. The container isn’t special, it’s the contents. Paul famously made that point. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) We are to seek to keep the container clean, so that we ourselves won’t be a cause of stumbling, but we must remember that we aren’t the central issue, God is.
This verse has in a sense haunted me, particularly in the years since we’ve been in Omura. Along with Matthew 10:40-42 it makes me wonder just how much impact my ministry is or isn’t having on the people I encounter. Japanese are very gracious and polite, in sometimes shocking contrast to people from some other cultures, but that doesn’t make them all instant Christians by any means. I am to be grateful for the reception I have been given, but I am not to hold back in preaching that repentance and faith are essential. “Socially expedient” professions of faith don’t hold water. In my ministry I’ve got to keep the focus on Christ, knowing that He lives, speaks, and acts through me, but not taking any credit for myself, because it’s all of Him. I am to speak the truth in love, and let the reception of that truth be between my hearers and God.
Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to speak through me. Thank You for the opportunity I have this morning to speak to the interdenominational prayer meeting. I pray that I would say only what You are saying, and that Your words through me may be received as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!