I awoke in the middle of the night recently with a sense of the Lord wanting to speak with me. But each time I started to pray, my mind wandered. Finally I whispered to God, “Speak, Lord. I’m listening.”
Immediately I heard Him say, “I am coming quickly. Preach the gospel to everyone.”
“I’m not an evangelist” was the first thought that came to mind. I knew it was an excuse. The next morning, remembering His words, I was actively looking to carry out His commission.
There was the staff member at the medical campus. The clerk at the supermarket. The guy helping me at the Verizon store. The lady with knee pain at the gym. Because of the setting and limited time, I could not give these people the “Romans Road” rundown; but as the Spirit gave utterance, I testified of the life that comes through Christ and administered it when possible (a prayer, healing, prophetic word, encouragement, etc.).
I was on fire for about four days. Then I lapsed back into routine. Sharing here and there, but not always actively on the lookout.
Yet He said He is coming quickly.
“God . . . reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Contemplate that. The Holy One of Heaven, Who requires perfection to stand in His presence, whose name was considered too sacred even to utter by the ancient Hebrews, has made it possible for a perverse heart such as ours to be in harmonious interaction with Him.
It’s easy to make that common when we’ve grown up with the concept. It’s easy to forget that Gentiles were far off even from knowing the One True God (Acts 28:28; Acts 9:15 et al). But a look at how God dealt with His enemies in the time before Christ should give us pause.
(A note on that: our politically correct entitlement culture of Selective Tolerance finds fault with the Ancient of Days for His wrath. We do not comprehend that God’s wrath is not the petulant, prideful stuff of our human anger. God’s wrath, in fact, I believe is the reaction of His utter holiness to that which ascends from the bowels of Hell in all its forms of rebellion. Indeed, when God revealed His glory to Moses, God’s fame even in that Old Testament setting was “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” [Exodus 34:6-7a, NASB].
Yet God is a God of justice. He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished [Exodus 34:7b]. For that would be to perpetuate wickedness).
The Greek word for “reconcile” in this passage is katallaso. It means to “return to favor with” or “to cease to be angry with.” The original Greek carries with it a monetary implication; we can think of it in terms of how accounting uses reconciliation to ensure that two sets of figures are in agreement with one another and perfectly match. If they’re not reconciled, even by a little, something is wrong.
“Ministry” in this passage is diakonia, and is defined in the Greek as a service, particularly of those carrying out the orders of another. Many governments have ministries, such as the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of War, etc. We’ve been designated the Ministry of Reconciliation in the service of our King.
Our office, our commission, is to carry out the ministry of making people right with God.
Of course, we know that only God can make people right with Himself through the power of His Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:16). But His commission to us here is that Christ has done the work on the cross that people might have the dazzling possibility of being in right relationship with the God of the Universe, the Creator of the Andromeda Galaxy, the one enthroned upon the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3). Our service is to make this very good news known to them.
Some of us are prophets, some evangelists, some teachers, some apostles, some helps. But we all have the same goal: to usher in the reconciliation to God for which Christ dearly paid to the world around us.
“And now God has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
Your quirky neighbor needs to be reconciled to God. Your impossible relative. That loudmouth with opposing viewpoints on social media. The person who delivers your mail. The colleague you wished worked elsewhere.
Like Paul we must pray for boldness (Eph. 6:19). We must be on the lookout for every opportunity (Colossians 4:3).
Bless the maid at the hotel and the collector at the toll booth and the driver who cuts you off. The Hollywood starlet on that magazine cover desperately needs Christ so pray for her.
Speak, administer, proclaim, and demonstrate life and life more abundantly (Mathew 10:10).
The time is short.
Christ is coming quickly.