Devotional Thought of the Day:
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 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 (NLT) 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (TEV)
319 My God, how easy it is to persevere when we know that You are the Good Shepherd, and that we—you and I…—are sheep belonging to your flock! For we know full well that the Good Shepherd gives his whole life for each one of his sheep. (1)
Interesting thought, speaking the truth in love requires that you love the one you are speaking to….Which means it costs you as much as it costs them when they don’t hear you. (a thought I etched on Facebook recently)
The church has been appointed to a task, chosen for a specific role and ministry in this world. All of the vocations that exist, exist to see this work of God, accomplished in and through us.
Paul calls it the ministry of reconciliation, and it requires great sacrifice and great love. It is one, when we do not see it fulfilled, should bring us to tears, even as Paul cried for his fellow Jews who turned their back on God, and refused God’s grace, refused God’s actions reconciling them to himself.
It’s odd, if anyone had the right to claim he was persecuted for righteousness sake, it was Paul. Yet he wept over his persecutors. he wept over the division between them and God. He even offered up his life, that God would reconcile them to Himself.
As Paul found out, there were times of division, both with those who abandoned God, and within the household of God. Peter knew this as well, yet he would write
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT)
Again, the focus isn’t just about being right – but how that is communicated, how we go to those we consider lacking in that hope, in the trust in that grace, in that knowledge. Realizing that our goal isn’t to win an argument, or create more division, but to see all reconciled to Christ, and therefore to each other.
Such is the nature of our ministry, of our life in Christ.
That is where our joy is found… in seeing all united in Christ Jesus.
Lord have such mercy on us…
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1276-1279). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.