It was just a tweet that I read as I was finishing breakfast this week. It’s been quite the news week, hasn’t it? It’s been a week that’ll give you whiplash and news glut overload if you don’t just turn away occasionally. But this tweet stuck to me. Why? Because for me, it clarified why we do some of the things that we do around here. And it made me see why we should re-double our efforts, and not give up in doing good.
The tweet highlighted some statistics of which I was unaware. Maybe you weren’t. Japan is the second-least-reached nation in the world. With a population of 125 million, just 0.58 percent are evangelical Christians. That’s not very many.
Approximately 38 million people live in the greater Tokyo area, making it one of the largest cities in the world. Without much of a gospel witness. The tweet referred to an article, which I later went on to read. The article tells of a faithful church planter working in Tokyo to bring the gospel to his own people. It was interesting, but the damage was done to my heart simply by reading the tweet. It wasn’t over 280 characters. That’s for sure.
What can we do about that sad statistic? Well, the good news is that we are already doing something about it. And it’s right in our own back yard. Every year our weekday preschool enrolls a good number of children whose parents are working here in the South Bay, but they are thoroughly Japanese. The children will come not speaking a word (literally) of English. Their parents are here for a short time to work and then return (reluctantly, because they like the weather here) to Japan.
We have a short, but wide open window to share something of God’s love and the mission of His Son into the world. Those parents will sometimes come to church on Sunday morning. They will come to things like the Harvest Festival or VBS or the Family Fun Night (movie nights). We have opportunities to share our love of Jesus with them.
Maybe you didn’t think about that when you signed up to help be a leader at VBS next week. Maybe you should have thought about that when you declined the opportunity to serve. But when we do these events around here there is always a purpose. And that purpose can extend even to Tokyo. Or wherever. Maybe the positive impression we make will open the door for a church planter in Tokyo to share the life-saving Gospel with a heart cultivated by something we’ve done. You never know. Some plant. Some water. Others reap.
So just think big. Think global. Remember that we will not know the impact of everything we do. But our ministry to children, whether during the week or over the weekend, has an impact around the world. Literally. That’s the nature of life in SoCal — and in the South Bay. The opportunity to reach the world is right in our own backyard. Let’s be faithful to love and to share. It’s all for His glory.