As reporter Clarence W. Hall followed American troops through Okinawa in 1945, he and his Jeep driver came upon a small town that stood out as a beautiful example of a Christian community.
"We had seen other Okinawan villages down at the heels and despairing," he reported. "By contrast, this one shone like a diamond. Everywhere, we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly," he continued, "the old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields, and their prized sugar mills."
The newsman saw no jails and no drunkenness, and divorce was unknown in the town.
Why was this village so unusual? An American missionary had come there 30 years earlier and had led two elderly townspeople to Christ and left them with a Japanese Bible. These new believers studied the Scriptures and started leading their fellow villagers to the Lord Jesus.
The reporter's Jeep driver was equally amazed at the difference and exclaimed, "So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus!"
That lone American missionary three decades earlier probably never saw the fruit of his work, and it is possible that he even became discouraged at times, but he steadfastly acted by love and faith in helping to fulfill the Great Commission to bring the gospel to these dear people in Okinawa. He planted a seed for the gospel there, and God watered and nourished it, and brought it to fruition.
First Corinthians chapter 15, verse 58, encourages us: "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (NIV). Steadfastness is absolutely necessary when it comes to winning others to Christ.
Some of the world's best-known missionaries preached the gospel for many years, patiently waiting to see the results of their efforts. Seven years passed, for example, before William Carey saw his first Hindu convert in Burma. Others toiled for 14 to 16 years. These heroes of the faith remained steadfast in spite of their daily disappointments. And finally, in due season, the harvest of souls began.
If you are steadfast, you too can make a difference in your community for the Lord Jesus Christ. You never know if in years to come just how much the fruit of your labor will be multiplied, for God's glory. Remember, our Lord can take a meager five loaves and two fishes given Him and feed a whole crowd. He can take our humble efforts given to Him and multiply it many times.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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