REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on November 22, 2015, is provided by Pastor Jason Sato who, along with his wife Jessica and three young children, serves in Japan as an AMI missionary. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.), just moved to Tokyo where he plans to, the Lord willing, plant a church.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“What Was All This For?”
Nehemiah 13:14 (ESV)
Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.
One of the most discouraging things that can happen in ministry is to see years of labor and sowing result in a complete lack of apparent fruit. If someone we mentor walks away from the faith, or if a ministry we have invested ourselves fully into falls apart, we would wonder what all this was for.
Nehemiah has sacrificed his time, his finances, and his position in the royal court to petition the king so that he can rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He has done everything he can to lead the people of God in the ways of the Lord. And God has graciously answered the prayers of His people and reestablished the temple and the wall. As the people recommit their lives to the Lord and sing His praises on the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah probably hopes that this is the beginning of a new golden age in the history of Israel.
But instead, the people of God fall quickly into the same sins that led to exile. All that Nehemiah has labored for quickly falls apart. Will God’s people ever be restored? Were Nehemiah’s sacrifices in vain? Following the time of Nehemiah, God sends no more prophets, and His people wait amidst silence, wondering whether God has withdrawn His promises and forsaken His people for good.
And then, at the right time, the Son of God enters the world. All that the people had waited for, and all that Nehemiah had hoped in, is fulfilled in a way that far surpasses anything Israel could have asked for.
The eternal King is the very Son of God. The temple, the place where God dwells, is in our own hearts. The kingdom of God is invading every tribe, people, and nations, and the day is coming soon when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
We may not see “fruit” in particular relationships or ministries in the near future. We may not see the full fruition of what we have sowed in this lifetime. But God is faithful, and our labor in the Lord is not in vain. God will get His glory, and the reward of our service to Him is that we will have more crowns to cast before our Savior.
Prayer: Father, I get discouraged so easily and grow weary so quickly. Remind me that You are the God who sees and remembers! Use everything I give for You to magnify Your name – if not in this life, then in the next. You are sure to receive all the glory! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 4