By Kathi Pelton
I love that the heading for these verses in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 is called the “Ministry of Reconciliation”. Jesus became our minister of reconciliation and then carries this truth on within each of us; the very ones that He came to reconcile. The knowledge of the truth that He became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God always blows my mind. He took on my sin so that I get this great reward; eternal life. What was my part in this? Sin. What was His? EVERYTHING THAT I COULD NOT DO FOR OR WITHIN MYSELF! Then, just by believing, I am given the righteousness of Christ. Not because I am sinless but because He was. I am reconciled to my Father because He took my sin upon Himself. Why would anyone not want this free gift?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 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 5:17-21
There are so many suffering around us in this world today; so many without hope. They must know that Hope came in the form of a man 2000 years ago and made a way that remains today for them. Those who have been reconciled to Christ (by Christ) have every reason to hope and to make their hope known to all.
Yesterday, I was feeling very weepy and even struggling with a bit of hopeless because my “ministry life” as I have known it has been interrupted by this earthly body that I’m in and the injuries from our recent car accident. I was asking God why and what to do? This truth is His answer.
I am now spending each in a place where people are in pain and looking for answers. Will I be a minister of reconciliation there? Do I have to have a stage or a large audience to be a minister? No! I began my ministry on the streets, in stores, in any place that God sent me. Face to face with the hopeless to tell them about the invitation into reconciliation. First love compelled me to go.
The Spirit spoke and said that 2016 was a year of returning to first love and so here I am; living it out and yet being unaware of His invitation set before me. Maybe this was a divine interruption. A moment in time where First Love calls you back and whatever you do is done from that place alone. Sometimes we lose our way or stray from the foundation of all that we are speaking (love!) in the midst of travel and making sure that we are relevant. We say that God is our provider, our hope, our good Father and yet how often do we (or I) find ourselves trying to earn our wages through ministry rather than ministering out of being compelled by first love.
Honestly, when the Spirit spoke the word about First Love to me regarding 2016 my first thought was, “Yes, this will be a great year (and easy) because I have not lost my first love!” Then three days later a car accident removes me from all travel and i find myself wrestling with hopelessness in a room full of hurting people. What!!! Where was first love in that room yesterday? Fifteen years ago it would have been the greatest ministry invitation I’d ever received and I would have been telling someone there how they too can have hope. But in my “maturing” and ministering to nations I lost my way from the true message.
So…wherever you are today; whether before a great crowd or in a room full of hurting people, heed the words found in the letter to the Church of Ephesus, and return to first love and do the things you did at first when love compelled you
You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelation 2:4-5
Your greatest ministry may be sitting right next to you!