Commitment; January 4, 2022

Matt 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus’ level of dedication is shown by far more than what we call Passion Week. Here, He had just heard of His relative John being beheaded in prison, and He wanted some time to Himself. However, when presented with many people in need, He met their needs rather than focusing on Himself. The only time He had to Himself was how­ever long He was on that boat, but that couldn’t have been very long. In contrast, we get upset when our schedules are interfered with and generally focus on ourselves, period. It is indeed important to take care of yourself, and that is an essential part of our stewardship of what God has provided to us, but when our focus is on ourselves we miss a great deal of what God intends for us. Some people take pride in being driven, saying “I’d rather burn out than rust out,” but too often that isn’t out of obedience but rather pride, wanting to see themselves as essential. We aren’t to insist on being used, but we are to hold ourselves available for whatever God wants to do with us, knowing that His rewards are always better than whatever we had dreamed up for ourselves.

I’m in the middle of more training in this area. Yesterday we were able to do some good ministry, but it was a long day and I had my own ideas of how I wanted the evening to go. However, God had other plans, and ministry by electronic means continued. In the process of that, I discovered that I had never taken my phone off of “mute” after the service on Sunday, and so had missed some important communication. And in all of that, it worked out that I will be getting calls this morning, when I am to be involved in various other things. By the time I went to bed I was not in good shape emotionally, and the fault ultimately lay with me and my reactions. I am forever telling people that selfishness/self-centeredness  never leads to genuine happiness, but I get caught up in it myself! I am not to resent calls on my time, but rather give all of my time to God, since He has given it to me in the first place. I am not to be surprised at my mistakes, such as failing to take my phone off of mute, but rejoice to be reminded of my own foolishness and fallibility, so that when I do things right I may remember that I have done so only by the grace of God. I have always delighted in unexpected “divine appointments,” but I need to rejoice also at the ones that feel like impositions in the moment. At the same time, I’m not to neglect myself, physically or emotionally. My father died at 64, and his failure to take time for personal maintenance was a big factor in that. I sometimes wonder how much else he might have done for the Body of Christ had he lived longer. I’m not to skimp on maintenance, but my focus is to be on doing whatever God has for me in that moment, for His glory alone.

Father, thank You for this reminder. As I said to Cathy last night, I don’t like being emotionally fragile. However, that too is pride. Help me recognize, on the deepest level, that I can indeed do nothing apart from Christ Jesus my Lord, (John 15:4) and so stay fully connected, doing Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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