Not only are countries physically recognizable by their history, culture, and traditions, but these three major influences have a profound effect on the people of that country. On today's Footsteps, TWR's Ethan Koh describes the Japanese people as holding "very tightly to their history, culture, and their traditions," and as a result, Japan is often viewed as "hard ground" when it comes to planting the seed of the Gospel. So, should we avoid evangelizing Japan? Absolutely not. Think about Jesus' Parable of the Sower which is found in Matthew chapter 13:
"And he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matthew 13:3-8, ESV)
There is a note in The Wiersbe Study Bible that puts sowing seed in "hard places" into perspective: "Amazingly, three fourths of the seed did not bear fruit. Jesus did not describe an age of great harvest but one in which the Word would be rejected."(1) So, what are we to do with a country like Japan? Keep sowing!
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(Photo by Tianshu Liu on Unsplash)
1. Warren W. Wiersbe, ed., The Wiersbe Study Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2009), 1415.