We were highly impressed recently in discovering the lifestyle of Toyohiko Kagawa(1888-1960), the Japanese businessman entrepeneur who influenced many in Japan and across the world, including Australia’s clothing creator Sir Fletcher Jones.Toyohiko Kagawa avidly followed the teachings of Christ.
In Bible college, troubled by seminarians’ concern for the technicalities of religious doctrine, he would point to the parable of the Good Samaritan. Once he boldly said to his nation’s ‘godlike’ ruler, ‘Emperor Hirohito,”Whoever will be great among you…shall be servant of all. A ruler’s sovereignty, Your Majesty,is in the hearts of the people. Only by service to others can a man, or nation, be godlike.”‘
And that was Toyohiko Kagawa’s own lifestyle. Concerned with people’s misery in life, he went around seeking how he could bless so many and give them hope for a better future. Something else this social reformer, peace activist, evangelist and author is reported to have said, really struck us: ‘I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about.’
Wow! That should really hit it on the head as far as a lot of Christians, especially ministers, are concerned! So many of us are indeed content with the status quo and miss out on God’s greater picture for our lives, skills and abilities.
Personally, we keep coming across Christians who are so negative regarding their own future, who act and talk as if God doesn’t have a great plan for their lives. And that‘s so sad! It doesn’t matter what age we are, what situation we’re in at present, we need to deal with every negative. Why? Because according to Jeremiah 29:11, God has a wonderful future organised for all who will seek his face, hear his assurances, listen to his directions and go for it.
Like Kagawa we too are never satisfied with just ‘going about!’ Our ministry of encouragement and inspiration is deliberately called Life Focus.
Regularly – in mentoring, casual conversation, preaching or seminars we tell people, even non-Christians:Life is a gift…focus on it and live it to the max! Don’t waste one day!’ Our own first-up daily prayer? ‘Let this day be effective for you, Lord through Holy Spirit anointing and direction.’Then we live the day as normal, not under any pressure, but being available for the Lord and, importantly, sensitive to his Holy Spirit.
And this doesn’t mean running around being super-spiritual before everyone and Bible-bashing them into a false salvation or forcing them to go to church. Rather we just take every opportunity the Holy Spirit organises for us to meet people and simply bless them. Blessing others – to us this means speaking a God-word, a kind word into people’s lives and encouraging them through being sensitive to the Spirit who can tell us where they’re at and what they need to hear.
Here’s a simple but very practical example. The other day we went for a rather late lunch to a favourite, inexpensive restaurant. At that hour we would normally have the place to ourselves but then a young couple arrived for a meal and sat nearby. Then an Asian lady also came in but just ordered a coffee. A few moments later she came over to us, said it was her first time there and enquired if it was a good place for full meals.
It was one of those God-given opportunities to do what Jesus would do…make a good connection without being super-spiritual. We didn’t run out to grab a Bible, didn’t start preaching, didn’t immediately tell her about our great church where we base ourselves. Instead we simply said, ‘Yes, it definitely is’ and pulled up a chair, inviting her to sit with us. Can’t tell you the full story but she suddenly opened up and shared so much of her heartache with us. Then we did the spiritual thing… even though it was a restaurant we reached out, laid hands on her head, prayed against pain, torments, threats and other problems and claimed peace and release for her in Jesus’ name. And she received!
Then, believe it or not, we noticed the young couple nodding, agreeing with us in a quiet ‘Amen’! We then went to them and, on discovering that they were desperately seeking a good church, blessing them also in prayer. Meaningful newly made connections had been achieved as these three were blessed in a simple way as we took advantage of being sensitive to the Holy Spirit during an everyday occurrence. Will they all be going to the church we recommended? We believe so, especially as we’ll be following them up.
The point is this…all Christians should never be satisfied with just going about, but be determined daily to go about doing good, whatever that Holy Spirit given opportunity of doing good works out to be. Be blessed as you do so!