Standards; May 16, 2020


Revelation 3:8 “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

I wonder how many congregations down through the centuries have been encouraged by these words? Jesus has just made clear that when He does something it is irreversible, and here he is proclaiming an open door. The Japanese says “gate” rather than “door,” as in castle gates and the like, something larger and grander than a simple door, and certainly far greater than the “garden gate” an English speaker might think of. We tend to judge ourselves and each other by the world’s standards, and that is inaccurate at best. Recently I read the tragic news of the suicide of a “megachurch” pastor. That sort of thing certainly exposes the emptiness of the world’s standards! Like the church in Philadelphia, we need to be good stewards of whatever we have been given, even if it doesn’t seem like much. Even Jesus called it “little strength!” Rather than complain about what we don’t have, we need to be grateful for what we do have, and at the very least, that is knowledge of the Son of God, and God’s plan of salvation. That actually is glorious riches that the world simply does not possess! We aren’t to draw back from any task the Lord gives us, no matter how big, but neither are we to claim or attempt things simply to make us feel or look big. We are to “keep [his] word and not deny [his] name.”

This is a very comforting reminder for me. God is the judge of how big our influence has been over the years, but the fact remains that our current Sunday attendance is around 10. I am not to focus on negatives, but rather be faithful to share Christ as He gives me opportunity, going through doors He opens and not banging my head on doors He doesn’t open. The Emergency Declaration has just been rescinded for Omura, which means that life should soon be getting more normal, but I am not to assume that things will be “as they always have been.” Rather, I am to pursue the inroads we have recently been given with the various neighbors, drawing them in as the Holy Spirit touches their hearts. I am not to wear myself out with humanistic labor, but neither am I to hold back anything at all when God says to act. I have been given a message on Gratitude for tomorrow, and indeed, many people are grateful for the improving conditions. As God draws people in, I am to relate to them as He directs, so that they may be brought to repentance, faith, and discipleship, for His glory.

Father, thank You indeed for all that You are doing. Thank You that my level of strength or ability is no gauge of what You can do through me. Help me be totally submitted and obedient to You, so that all of Your plans for me and for this church, this city and this nation may be fulfilled, 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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