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.”
This verse can be both an encouragement and a frustration to those actively involved in evangelism. On the one hand, we can know that we are representatives of almighty God, and those who listen to us are indeed listening to Him, but on the other hand, we can feel like we’re butting our heads against the wall when people seem to listen and listen but never commit themselves to Jesus as Lord. This verse parallels another statement of Jesus: “I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” (John 13:20) That again parallels, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40) We have the three terms: listens to, accepts, and receives. Experience tells us that there are degrees to each of those. The problem is, we aren’t the final judge of those degrees. All we can do is be faithful to the One who sends us, speaking the truth in love and giving people the opportunity to listen, accept, and receive salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is intensely personal for me, since I’ve been ministering in Japan for about 39 years, following my parents who ministered here from 1934 on. Ministry in Japan is a study in faithfulness and frustration. Missionaries – and foreigners in general – are often seen as interesting and are even sought out, but there seems to be a massive wall keeping Japanese from realizing that the things they are hearing truly apply to them, and are a matter of eternal life and death. I have no answer to that in my own strength and wisdom, so I just keep reminding myself that “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) I am to keep praying and keep proclaiming, and trust God with the results. In our current photo exhibit in the City Gallery we are having opportunities to share Christ in word and in song, and some of the people seem quite receptive. However, only time will tell whether the heart in question is a roadside, a gravel patch, weeds, or rich soil. (Matthew 13:18-23) I am not to put myself down for people’s response, or lack of it, but rather seek to be available for whatever appointments the Lord sets up, to be useful to Him in His work of salvation.
Father, thank You for this strong and timely reminder. I pray that I would look forward to Your appointments each day and not burn out over the ones that didn’t turn out as I had desired. May I be an effective representative of Christ, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!