On Wednesday night, part of the team visited a small church in the coastal city of Kesennuma. The tsunami waters came through the city taking homes and businesses in its path. The bulk of the destruction was the result of moving trees and cars along with consuming fires.
I met a middle aged couple at the church. Their home was destroyed by the tsunami. They lost everything. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, a young girl along with some neighbors offered to them blankets and supplies. They tried to refuse the assistance. They told their benefactors to think of themselves and their own needs. Their benefactors said that someone would take care of them.
They were blessed by the kindness shown to them. They also wondered why the kindness was being shown. Eventually, they asked why. They were told that it was because of the love of Jesus.
In a moment of immense clarity, they invited Jesus into their lives and they were born anew all because someone loved them and showed them acts of kindness. Paul wrote in Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
There is a kindness that leads to repentance. It is the kindness of God shown through His people. That’s why we are to love them until they ask why.
The story doesn’t end there.
The couple told me that their son was in college and in order for him to stay in college; they had to live a “bare bones” existence. The husband gave up his allowance and lived a Spartan lifestyle.
Then the Lord interceded. Their son received a totally unexpected scholarship. He told his parents that they no longer needed to live so sacrificially. They shared with me that God had provided for them and they no longer worry about material things. They now understood that when their benefactors said that “Someone would take of them”, they meant the Lord.
This couple’s current mission in life is to help others who are in need within their community. They are going to love them until they ask why.
By the way, “Loving them until they ask why” was part of the message I delivered that night, which confirmed what they were already doing. The young girl is a part of this church family. God is good.
Something to think about…
Missions Comment: Genesis 12:2-3 teaches us that we are blessed to be a blessing to others, especially those who are in need. One of the things that I noticed in the churches that I visited was the genuine desire of believers to be a blessing to those around them. If this continues and grows, more and more of the Japanese people will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.