Job Number One.
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” – 2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT
Paul was a man on a mission. Ever since his call by Jesus Christ on the Damascus road, he had been like a man possessed. He had received a commission from the very lips of Jesus Himself and he took it quite seriously. “I am Jesus, the on you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who re set apart by faith in me” (Acts 26:15-18 NLT).
One of the problems Paul faced on a recurring basis was that the people to whom he was called to minister did not always received him or his message well. There were those who doubted his call and so, as a result, they refused to listen to what he had to say. Evidently, Paul was not the flamboyant or charismatic type. He wasn’t impressive in his speech or appearance. But he was sincere in heart and motivated by his love for Christ. He firmly believed the message he had been given by Christ, because he had been personally and radically changed by it himself. So when he wrote that Christ had “died for everyone so that those who receive this new life will no longer live for themselves” (2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT), he meant it and believed it. Paul wasn’t just preaching and teaching, he was sharing the life-saving message of new life through Jesus Christ. Paul was on a mission to reconcile the world to God, to restore a lost and dying generation to a right relationship with their Creator. And there was only one way for that to happen: Through belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior and sin substitute. Paul was calling people back to God, and there was only one path that could lead them there: Jesus Christ.
When you think about it, there is no more worthy cause in life than to lead people back to God by pointing them to Christ. What other endeavor could compare in value or worth? There is no doubt that we must help meet the humanitarian needs of those around us. To feed the hungry, minister to the sick, bring release to the captives and care for widows and orphans are non-negotiable expressions of love for those whom God has made. We are instructed by God to do these things out of love for Him and in order to show our love for others. But if we do all these things, but fail to reconcile those to whom we minister to God, what good had we really done? To relieve someone’s physical or emotional suffering, but fail to introduce them to Christ, the answer to their spiritual suffering, would be cruel and, ultimately, unhelpful. Paul understood well the idea “that God has given us this task of reconciling people to him” (2 Corinthians 5:18b NLT). He knew that people needed to be fed, clothed, cared for and loved on. That’s why he was constantly reminding those to whom he wrote about the collection of funds for the saints who were suffering in Judea because of their faith. But Paul’s real mission was to help free people from the oppression of sin and the penalty of death by pointing them to Christ, the only hope for their condition. When all was said and done, Paul’s mission in life was to help everyone he met be made right with God through Jesus Christ. No amount of human effort can restore or repair the sin-damaged relationship between God and man. Only God can reconcile what sin has destroyed. Only Christ can lead lost men and women back to God. And we have the job of sharing this message of reconciliation and restoration to everyone we meet. To those who are starving from lack of food as well as to those who are satiated and stuffed on the things of this world. Like Paul, we have been commissioned to share the message of reconciliation to the haves and the have-nots, the famished and the full, the helpless and the self-sufficient, the powerless and the powerful. For ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s righteous standard. ALL are condemned and face eternal separation from God as a result of their sin. But they can be made right with God through Jesus Christ – if only we will do our job and tell them the Good News.
Father, I sometimes lose sight of my real responsibility on this earth. I tend to forget that I have been saved, not to live for myself, but to love others. I have one job and one job only: To share the Good News of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone I meet. I have the message of the hope of the world and I need to share it. I am Your ambassador and I have a responsibility to help others understand how they can be made right with You. Give me a passion to do my job well. Help me take my job seriously and to do it eagerly. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men