Journey to Jerusalem Day 3
Friday, February 19 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
What a relief to be called an ambassador. The implications are that we are not ultimately in charge; there is nothing required of us beyond obedience to the sending authority—Christ. It means that the struggle of living in a foreign land with all its different moral and cultural differences is not unknown to Christ who came before us.
In his typical, long-winded style, the quotation from Isaiah 49 can be lost in Paul’s message to the church in Corinth. If you have time today, read through this prophetic chapter about the servant of the Lord. Jesus, as the only one who could fit this description, had the benefit of understanding God’s plan for the world, but even he expressed anger at the flagrant misunderstandings of those who followed him.
Your giftings, your ministry, your time, your love—none of these are expressed in a vacuum. Even if you never see the fruits of your labor, none of it is done in vain. Don’t let failure or hardship discourage you from the good work given to you. There is a freedom in the trials and in the pursuit because the mission does not depend on our own efforts. You may feel more strongly the lack but remind yourself of what you have now and for eternity. Know that you are not alone.
This is faithful endurance.
Dear Lord and Father, we are eternally grateful that you sent your Son to pave the way of righteousness for us here on earth. Help us to look to him in all suffering and in all joy, in the small inconveniences of the day and in the times of deep grief. May all that is imperfect push us to seek and long for you more dearly.