Ministry of Reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
“Now all [these] things are from God, who 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.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”(NAS)
This is a study that I wrote back on March 18, 2001. This is more of a personal account than a study really. I wanted to share it with you for encouragement. May the Lord bless you as you read this. And my prayer for you is that you would be inspired by the Holy Spirit to go forth in this ministry of reconciliation and be successful. For its only when we stop thinking about ourselves that we can truly focus on the things that are outside of us and make a difference in this world for Jesus.
We worry so much about our personal relationships with people that we lose focus on the ministry of reconciliation to God that He has given us. We should be more concerned with others reconciliation with God than their relationships with us. We all want to be popular, it’s human nature. We all want to feel important to someone. John 12:43 “For they loved human praise more than the praise of God…” (NLT) But our focus must be on the ministry of reconciliation.
I want to share with you a couple of examples of this ministry of reconciliation in my own life. I met my next door neighbors son one day when I was out in my yard gardening. I was going through a very rough time in my life; I was sitting in the sun in my front yard planting flowers listening to Christian music. A car pulled in next door and a man got out and went to the door, he knocked and no one answered. I told him that she had just left. He asked me what was the band that I was listening to; for the next 2 or 3 hours I talked with him about the love of Jesus, and my testimony and how God changes lives no matter what your sin is. We said our goodbyes and he left.
(Now my reason for sharing this account with you is that in that time I never once thought about the impression that I was having on this person, I was focused on sharing with him the work that Jesus had done in my life. (Of course I didn’t know it at the time, but I was sharing the ministry of reconciliation. I was just talking to a stranger about Jesus.)
In any case, a month or so later I ran into him at my church! His grandmother was a little old lady that I used to sit with every Sunday. For years she had been witnessing to him, trying to get him to know Jesus. I asked him what changed for him. He told me that the biggest reason that he was there was that the time I spent with him telling him about all the things that Jesus had done for me to reconcile me with the Father. I was blown away; all I did was talk about what God had done for me. I didn’t worry about what I would say, I didn’t worry about the impression that this perfect stranger would have of me. I was struggling in my life and God used this time with a stranger to remind me of all that He had done for me. In fact, I remember as he left that day feeling grateful to God for all that he had done for me. I felt blessed to have been able to share my testimony, because it reminded me where I had come from, and no matter how bleak life seemed at that time, it was still better than where I had been. I never guessed that God would use that time to bless someone else.
Another account of the ministry of reconciliation that I would like to share with you is about my mother. We never really had a good relationship, then, when I came to know Jesus I longed for a closer relationship. One that was focused around God. I tried and tried to witness to her. But it seemed as though it would never happen, she would never come to know Jesus, and I would never have the relationship that I longed for. She came for a visit one time and I had plans to go to a friend’s house for Christian fellowship, I invited her to come along. When we got there, we kind of went our separate ways. Throughout the night we spoke a couple of times, but I was focused on fellowship. I laughed, I joked and I had in depth biblical conversations all night long. On the ride home we exchanged pleasantries, and got home and went to bed. She left for Florida to go home a few days later.
Weeks went by then she called me one afternoon and said “I did it!” I asked her what she was talking about. She told me that she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! I was so happy; I asked her what had changed. She told me that it was watching me interact with my friends that all of us seemed to glow and there was no alcohol or drugs involved. She said she saw a change in me that she had not noticed before. She listened to the testimonies of the people that were there, she saw with her own eyes the ministry of reconciliation in my own life.
You see when I stopped focusing on “my” relationship with her and what “I” wanted, then God stepped in. I knew that the relationship that I desired with my mother was only possible if she knew Jesus; I tried and tried to get her to know Jesus. But now I see that it was for the wrong reasons. I was focused on my reconciliation with her, not on her reconciliation with God.
“…Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
(I would like to say that it has been 12 years since I wrote this account; and my mother is one of my best friends, in fact she has come to live with my husband and I and our 4 children. God is good and faithful; we just need to yield to His ways. He will make a way where there seems to be no way.)
We are ambassadors for Christ, not ourselves. We have an obligation to this world to share with them the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation to God. After all, one of the meanings of reconciliation is redemption.
As always, God Bless you till we meet again…..