All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Relate: Three weeks. When Benjamin Franklin was an ambassador in France, that is about how long it would take for a ship to travel from America to Europe. While he negotiated an alliance with France and later as he was part of the team negotiating the treaty that would end the Revolutionary War, he spoke with the authority of America. You could say that for all practical purposes he was the single most important American alive at that point of time. The decisions he made, carried authority. He could not wait for three weeks of travel time each direction for orders regarding each proposal and counter-proposal of the negotiations.
Funny thing is, when Paul was writing 2 Corinthians, three weeks was also the amount of time for someone to travel from Rome to Jerusalem. Outside of the Emperor himself, the most important citizens of Rome were the Emperor’s ambassadors. They spoke with all the weight, authority and power of Rome. Today ambassadors are often viewed as little more than glorified mouthpieces but up until the advent of the telegraph, ambassadors held power… real power in their hands.
React: When Paul writes that we are Christ’s ambassadors, he is saying that we hold this kind of authority. We are not simply modern diplomatic automatons who repeat exactly what we are told when we are told as we are told. We have true authority. As the Church, as Christ’s ambassadors, we have an authority that the gates of hell cannot stand against. What we bind on earth is bound in heaven and what we loose on earth is loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18-19)
That authority we hold but with it, we have a responsibility. We have been given a directive. We are compelled by the love of Christ and the work of the cross to be ministers of reconciliation. God is making His appeal through us, to the world: “Come back to God!” The pages of history are littered with examples of poor ambassadors. Sometimes they were simply inadequate for the task. Other times they were too busy building their own kingdoms to effectively carry out the will of their masters. How diligent am I today as an ambassador for my King? Am I truly serving Him or am I only using His title to build my own kingdom?
I have been commissioned by You to be Your representative to my world. Let that calling compel me. Let that commissioning burn through me until anything that is not of You is consumed. You are passionately pursuing the lost. You are desperate to find those wandering sheep. Let me be about the same task. Let me live my life for the very same calling to which You gave up Yours.