What does being a Christian mean to you? Is it simply a label by which you claim your faith or does it mean something more to you?
Today I’d like us to consider the following passage in 2 Corinthians 5 to set up our discussion of making ourselves available to others.
2 Corinthians 5: 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!”
It seems to me that this applies to all believers, doesn’t it? I kind of like the title, Ambassador of Christ, don’t you? Could you imagine going to a business mixer or a social gathering and introducing yourself in such a way? I can see it now, “Hello, my name is Larry, I’m an ambassador of Christ, and you are?” I don’t currently do this, but I may start. I may tell people about LarryPittman.com on occasion, but I may change my primary “business” to “Ambassador of Christ” and see where the conversation goes.
But this is every believers’ title, from clerks and computer guys to doctors and dentists; for those whose identity is found in the risen Christ.
Being an ambassador means that we represent Him, we are here on His behalf. People who are genuine seekers should naturally want to hear what we have to say and we should always look for ways to invite those with “ears to hear” to hear more.
Are you available to the people in your life? Are you available to your neighbor? To make yourself available to others is to make yourself available to God.
In accordance with the greatest commandment:
Mark 12: 31a The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
These verses in John seems to clarify this verse.
John 13: 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
John 15: 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
The Word of God allows us to easily see how Jesus loved others.
Let’s peruse some passages and examine how Jesus made Himself available to those He came across.
Matthew 19: 13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
Apparently, Jesus was doing something at the time and the disciples felt that He should not be bothered. This is a great illustration of Jesus accepting all who come to Him despite others that would send them away.
Mark 10: 46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”
I think this is a similar example, but what I love is the sheer determination of this man who does not allow the crowd to become between Jesus and himself. Jesus could have ignored him easily and walked on, but He chose to address the man’s needs and be available.
This next example is one of my favorites:
Mark 6: 30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Notice that in verse 31 Jesus wants to rest and go to a quiet place. It also says that they didn’t even have time to eat. Something changes His plan and redirects His attention. Note verse 34, “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Despite being hungry, tired and wanting a quiet place to rest, He sees an immediate, and more important need and starts teaching. You see He valued their spiritual hunger more than His disciples’ physical hunger.
I don’t know about you, but when I am hungry, I want to eat. I can easily forget about other’s needs for a minute while I get a bite to eat.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”
This next example is a bit more extreme:
Luke 8: 41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. 42 His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.
As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. 43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 48“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Note that Jesus was on His way to heal Jairus’ only daughter, who was dying. On the way to serve in this most urgent matter, He was interrupted. The woman touched Him so that she might be healed. He took the time to find out who she was and addresses her. In the meantime, if you read on you’ll see that Jairus’ daughter dies but it’s not too late for the Savior.
As we continue to seek God and continue to be transformed as we’ve discussed, we should start to see evidence that we are becoming more and more like Him.
How do you respond to these everyday, ordinary questions?
Can I run something by you?
Daddy, can you come see what I’ve made?
Do you think you could help me move this Sunday?
I need you to pick up an extra shift, can you help me out?
I got this huge favor to ask…
Could you run me to the doctor’s office?
Daughter, could you come out to visit your Dad and I this weekend?
Do you see questions, requests, or demands as an interruption? Or do you see them as an opportunity to serve? An opportunity to love someone as God would love them? Perhaps they are ways to fulfill your responsibility as an ambassador, which is actually working for God while serving others.
Note from this verse that Jesus developed quite a reputation:
Luke 7: 3 When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave.
How is your reputation?
Do people come to you to ask for prayer or for advice? Do people come to you for comfort or for peace of mind?
Or do people think that you’re too busy or uncompassionate that they don’t bother going to you?
If you look at your life, are you available to others? Are you there to serve when needed? Have you considered God’s plan for you as a living sacrifice?
If we are truly ambassadors for Christ, doesn’t that make Him our employer? If we work for Him, doesn’t it make sense that he would have people come into our lives to give us a chance to bless them and perfect our love?
Before I close in prayer, meditate on these verses:
Romans 8: 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 12: 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
1 Peter 1: 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
1 Peter 3: 8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
1 John 3: 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Are you willing to serve when you are called?
“Dear God, it is my heart’s desire to please you. I confess to you that I’ve missed many opportunities to serve others only to look back with regret. Please help me to be more aware of my responsibility as your ambassador so that I can glorify you by serving others. Will you change my heart so that I may be more sensitive to the needs of others and help me to listen closely to your voice when the opportunities arise? Thank you for the privilege of serving you, please be patient with me. In Jesus’ name, amen”