Back to Reach • Devotion #1: Why Back to Reach?

While serving in South Africa with the ministry Key of Hope, someone took my wife and me to a place just west of Port Shepstone called Oribi Gorge, about 75 miles south of Durban. Words cannot describe what we heard, saw with our eyes, and touched that day. The gorge carved out of sandstone, is approximately 19 miles in length, 1,300 feet deep, and over three miles at its widest point. We experienced sensory overload that day as this surprisingly quiet place was stunning to observe and a thrilling place to set foot. 

From that day forward, whenever we had the chance to expose someone to the wonders of Oribi Gorge, we went out of our way to do so. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they, too, were overwhelmed by what they heard, saw, and touched brought us great joy!

In a similar way, the apostle John describes what he and his fellow disciples had heard, seen, and touched concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 John 1:1 (NKJV), he says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” 

In this letter, John explains to the recipients just why he was writing to them. He and the disciples that were with him had been changed forever by their encounter with Jesus Christ. They were bearing witness that the gift of eternal life and a restored relationship with the Father had been given to them. John wanted them to know that this was also available to them as well.

He continues in verses 2-3 (NKJV), “The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 

Sin has broken the relationship between God and mankind. Nevertheless, God the Father has atoned for sin through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross and made it possible for anyone to have a right relationship with Him once again through faith, for now, and forevermore.

In verse 4 (NKJV), he adds, “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 

The joy that John had received from the Lord was what he wanted others to know. John understood that the world could not offer complete or lasting joy because the source of worldly joy is only temporary (2 Peter 3:10). 

As much as my wife and I wanted others to experience the grandeur of Oribi Gorge in South Africa, the joy that would be produced from our visits could only be temporary. Only a proper relationship with the Lord can produce a joy that is full, complete, and eternal.

So, why do we emphasize going back to reach?

Why is it important that you and I commit to reaching others with the message of the Gospel?
It is so that their “joy may be full.”

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