All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
It only takes a quick glance at the news headlines to realize the world is broken. From across the globe to the neighbor across the street, heartbreak, confusion, cynicism, anger and despair seem to reign. Fear seems to be winning out over hope. Division and divisiveness are more prevalent than unity and direction. There are more people shouting "US" and "THEM," rather than looking another person in the eye and saying "WE."
Our world is a far cry from the Kingdom of God, which is defined by the qualities of love, peace, holiness, hope and joy. As we pray that the world would reflect His Kingdom more fully, we are not only asking God to display His power, but also seeking to figure out how He wants to use us to make His name known.
The world needs us more than ever to "lean in." We can't turn a blind eye, cover our ears or look the other way any longer. We can't let the world unravel while we twiddle our thumbs and pass off our inactivity by simply stating that "God is in control." The world is waiting for our response. Will we add to the problems of our culture by looking like everybody else and giving in to fear, hate and cynicism, or will we seize the opportunity presented to us and be the light of this world? Will we possess the courage to engage the lost, empower the most vulnerable and equip the next generation? What if through our actions we enabled the world to catch glimpses of what His Kingdom is like by pursuing justice, forgiving generously and loving boldly?
The simple truth is this, the church has the only message that has the power to change the human heart, heal a wounded soul, turn hatred into love and comfort the grieving. Our message brings repentance, redemption and reconciliation. Each one of us must pause and ask ourselves whether we are being intentional with the responsibility and influence we’ve been given.
God has trusted us with the influence of His love and the integrity of His image. Do not take this lightly. But, don't let the pressure of this statement overwhelm you. God honors our simple acts of obedience and He can do amazing things with each step we take. The impact of caring isn't stress, but compassion.
God desires for every follower of His to use everything they’ve been given - every moment, every struggle, and every success - for the sake of His Kingdom. We have to look at everything we have, as well as all that we experience, both the good and the bad, and ask, “What is this for?” We also must pray for our eyes to be opened to the opportunities all around us to "lean in" and be part of the change we want to see in the world.
Those moments often get missed because we are consumed with the state of our individual kingdom and making sure our needs, wants and desires are met. Yet, the freedom we have through Christ was never meant to be held on to, but rather given away by serving others. We find our purpose through empty hands. We have been entrusted with the responsibility to impact culture by making Christ’s name known through the way we live our lives.
Yet, before that can happen, we have to make a decision. Are we going to put ourselves in a position to be used in this way? Are we going to allow our lives to be used for this purpose? Are we going to "lean in"? That’s the question we’re asking today.
- How are you going to position yourself to be used by God today?
God, may my life point towards Your hope. Open my eyes to ways I can be used for Your glory. May my heart break for what breaks Yours. In the midst of this broken world, I hope I can shine my light and make a difference for Your kingdom. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.