Ambassadors

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I wonder what it would be like to be an ambassador to some foreign place. I suppose at times I’d feel quite important, having been commissioned as an official representative by the leaders of my country. Other times, I expect I’d feel a bit lonely and lost, living in a place that wasn’t my home. Above all, I think I’d carry with me a sense of great responsibility, wondering who was listening, watching and assuming that my daily choices were typical of my countrymen.

The Apostle Paul considered himself to be Christ’s ambassador even when he was in jail. And in 2 Corinthians 5:20, he commissioned us, saying, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

This is an important calling! It’s issued not by leaders of our country, but by the Creator of our universe via his servant and messenger, Paul. Our ambassadorship isn’t an option. We represent Christ, every day, wherever we go and in whatever we’re doing—or not doing, “as though God were making his appeal through us.” God speaking through us is a heady thought.  How do we react to disappointment or mistreatment? What do we do with our spare time? What do our facial expressions convey when we don’t think anyone is watching?

Do you ever feel a bit lonely or lost in this world? A bit out of place? That’s to be expected, and Paul tells us how to handle it—be reconciled to God. It’s only through a closer walk with the Lord who loves us that we can fulfill our calling. When we’re trusting him in all things, we can get through the muck and mire that the world tends to dish out. Our response to trouble ought to be an immediate cry to our Lord for perspective, protection and direction—as long as we’re reconciled to him. If we’ve allowed our relationship to grow cold, to be walled off—perhaps by sin or selfishness—it’s easy to forget that he’s right there ready to help.

Most of us will never be asked to go live in some foreign place and represent our country. We’ve been commissioned, though, to an even greater calling. When you head out today, imagine yourself wearing the badge of a diplomat. (Okay, maybe they don’t wear badges, but you get my drift.)

Let your light so shine!

 

(Photo from Pixabay)

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Biscuits and Band-Aids

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(By Beth Smith)

I love to cook! I grew up in a time when women cooked every day. Food was something we shared.

  • If someone suffered a loss, we took food to the house (often fried chicken and pound cake.)
  • If someone was sick, we made soup and homemade biscuits.
  • If someone had lots of out-of-town company coming, we cooked them a ham, a mess of green beans from the garden and maybe some devilled eggs.
  • Doing this was easy for me, an inherited gift from God, a talent I enjoyed using.

One day I began to belittle my gift in front of my daughter. She really got after me, saying, “Mom, don’t you know that if God makes you good at something, you’re supposed to do it over and over again until he tells you to do something else?” Cooking is my way of lending aid to a friend in need. Even though it looks insignificant to me at times, it’s one of the ways God has equipped me to serve. And 1 Corinthians 12 has plenty to say about the different ways we are created to serve. You might want to read the entire chapter on your own. I’m going to share just part of it with you.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” …If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

In other words:

  • We don’t all have the same job to do, the same gifts or talents.
  • We’re all necessary.
  • We’re meant to work with what he’s given us.
  • No one person is more or less important than any other.
  • When one member of the group hurts, the whole group suffers with it. (If you’ve ever kicked your little toe, you know how such a seemingly unimportant part can affect the rest of your body.)

Here’s the most important lesson of all. Each member of the body has the privilege of coming to the aid of the hurting member. If the little toe is in pain, the foot turns a little to take the pressure off the toe, the leg takes on more of the work of walking (or hobbling). The point is that we need to take care of one another – bear each other’s burdens and use whatever God has given us to help those in trouble, in pain, or in distress. How do we do that? By using our gifts.

  • If you’re a gifted listener, listen. Pain often needs to be vented to an understanding ear.
  • If you’re good at a sport, use your talent to help or teach that to someone else.
  • If you can throw a ball well or tell a good story, get a bunch of kids out to play.
  • And all of us can pray.

We can all do something to meet needs and bless others. We need to BAND together to AID each other.

Perhaps John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist church – said it best, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you an, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.