Focus; August 9, 2020

Luke 4:44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Jesus healed and delivered many, which gained Him popularity, but He never stopped proclaiming the Gospel. We get caught up in all sorts of things, but we must never forget that we are God’s agents to tell people, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15) To put it into slightly different context, the good news is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” (Acts 16:31) It is true that our lives must reflect the character of Jesus, but we also must never stop talking about Him. Over 40 years ago my wife drew a picture, a cartoon, really, that we still have in a frame on the wall. It is of a round little figure and the outline of his body is filled with words, like joy, and envy, and peace, and anger, and on and on. The caption of the picture is, “Whatever you are full of, you will spill when you are bumped.” That reflects what Jesus said: “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:18-19) He was talking about negative things there, but the positive things also come from the heart. The things is, we need to be so full of Jesus that any time we are “bumped,” Jesus comes out! Like Jesus, we are not to stop telling people about the holiness, love, and grace of God, that lead us to salvation if we will believe.

I am certainly a talker, but the question is, what do I talk about? I enjoy displaying my knowledge about a wide variety of subjects, but those are all inconsequential compared to salvation in Christ. I have a good example for that in my father. A phrase for which he was known was, “Give all you know of yourself to all you know of Christ.” His work was in institutional education, founding the University Department of Seinan Gakuin, which is to this day the highest-ranked private university in Kyushu, but he never forgot that his fundamental purpose was to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have had times, even periods, of forgetting my primary purpose for being in Omura, and even for being on this earth. I must not do that! Yesterday I reestablished contact with an old friend, who has moved with his wife into an elder-care facility. We were just talking on the phone, but we were both glad to hear each other’s voice. In my talking with him, and with everyone, I need to keep proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus.

Father, thank You for this reminder. My life seems to run on many different tracks at once. Help me focus consistently on Christ and Your kingdom, so that everything I am and say and do may draw people to repentance and faith, for their salvation and 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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