Jeremiah 31:33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
This is a promise that makes my heart cry out for it to be fulfilled. In over 40 years of ministry, both in the US and mostly in Japan, I have sought to lead people to receive God’s Word into their hearts, to live it out and let it live in them, but few have accepted the challenge. There is no question that this can only be a work of God; human beings alone certainly can’t make it happen. For anyone involved in ministry, the comfort is that God sometimes does indeed make it happen, even in the most barren of locations. It has been pointed out that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) doesn’t say, “make converts,” it says, “make disciples.” Only someone who is a disciple of Christ can lead someone else to become a disciple of Christ. Those who would be great in God’s kingdom have got to be focused on serving, serving God through serving the people around them. Jesus was very explicit on that point. (Matthew 20:25-28, John 13:12-17) If we want God to write His law in the hearts of others, we must welcome that law into our own hearts.
This is intensely personal for me, as I think it should be for every believer. Following my parents before me, we have been ministering in Japan for the past 85 years. Yesterday on a Facebook page for Mks, (Missionary Kids) it came out that after over 100 years of Protestant missions in Japan, less than 1% of the population is actively Christian, and the average age of pastors continues to climb. Someone in another part of the world wrote, “Then you must be doing it wrong.” Frankly, that hurt rather deeply. Practically everyone who has ministered in Japan, either missionary or Japanese, has agonized over the low “rate of return on investment” in Japan, in time, resources, and personnel. We have no human answers, and are forced to operate in sometimes blind faith. This verse and the one following it are the desire of my heart for this nation, but only God can bring it about by His Spirit. My task is to be listening faithfully and obeying actively, so that I may in some way be useful to Him in accomplishing His purposes.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You have placed me in a very rocky field. May I not complain, but keep planting and watering as You direct, knowing that You are the Lord of the harvest. Thank You. Praise God!