I spent most of this week in a gorgeous lodge tucked away on the banks of the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan, that strange place where it snows on April 22.
It was a time of meeting new people, reflecting on what God has done, dreaming about what God will do, and learning everything from the ways and workings of God to the ways and workings of a ministry to the ways and workings of a computer program.
It was a time of training to be an Ambassador.
The word “ambassador” appears in Scripture, but until this week I honestly had never given it a whole lot of thought. One verse we studied–and it actually was presented by a couple different people, unbeknownst to each other, which is often the way God works–was 2 Corinthians 5:20.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (ESV)
My four new friends and I went to Michigan to learn how to be ambassadors for Revive Our Hearts. But really, we are ambassadors for Christ.
I arrived feeling the weight of responsibility being entrusted to me of representing Revive Our Hearts, and I left feeling that weight even more. This ministry takes the gospel seriously, and doesn’t choose just anyone off the street and hand them a name tag and a set of business cards with their name on it. I am deeply humbled and honored to be representing the ministry that has been so instrumental in my growth in Christ.
But I was convicted of the fact that until this point, I have not felt the weight of the responsibility entrusted to me of representing Christ.
Right before the verse quoted above, Paul tell us that God “gave us the ministry of reconciliation,” and that He is “entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (v. 18-19)
Long before Revive Our Hearts set me apart as an ambassador, God had already done so! From the moment He saved me, God set me apart as an ambassador of the message of the gospel. My job is to represent Him to those around me–both those who claim to know Him and those who don’t. The President of the United States isn’t personally in France right now (at least I’m assuming!) but he has placed an ambassador in France to represent himself. Likewise, Christ is not currently physically on Earth, but during this time of waiting for Him to come back, He has placed millions of ambassadors all over the globe to represent Himself–to show people His ways, to present His message, to be a picture of Him while He’s not here in person.
Anyone who claims the name of Christ is assumed to be representing Christ. This is a scary thought indeed, because we all know that there are countless numbers of people claiming the name of Christ who actually have no affiliation with Him at all. I shudder to think of the day when they will give an account to their Maker for falsely representing His name.
And thinking of that makes me shudder to think of all the times and ways I have falsely represented the One whose name I claim.
I should have felt the weight of being Christ’s ambassador all along. But I definitely feel it now.
Almost everyone who knows me knows that I claim to represent Christ. But what kind of picture of Christ have they seen in me?
The verses following the one quoted above have phrases like “We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,” and “as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way,” and “you are not restricted by us.”
I know there have been so many times when the picture of Christ presented by my life has put an obstacle in the way of someone else trusting Him. I know there have been times when my speech–gossip, complaining, idle talk–has placed restrictions on someone understanding the gospel.
That’s a weight I feel now like never before.
Revive Our Hearts has meant so much to me and the impact this ministry has had on my life is immeasurable. The thought of being a part of this time is surreal, and I want to be so extremely careful to not abuse the trust and responsibility that has been entrusted to me as I carry their message to women and churches in my area.
But if I am not even more careful with the message of reconciliation entrusted to me by my God, then it’s all for nothing.
Because ultimately I am not an ambassador for Revive Our Hearts or Life Action ministries or Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Ultimately I am an ambassador for Christ. And when it’s all said and done, the only thing that matters in my life is how I represented the message of hope entrusted to me by Christ.