When I was 17 years old, I traveled to the Dominican Republic on a youth mission trip. I have to admit that I signed up for that trip with selfish motivations. I had been attending Crosswinds church and the church’s youth group for almost a year by that point, thanks to an invitation from a good friend of mine, another high school student named Denny. At that time in my life I would have considered myself a Christian; but my understanding of what that meant was that I believed in a higher power and was supposed to be a decent person.
When I signed up for that trip, I did so because I thought I’d be spending a couple of weeks on the beach with my friends. I knew some work would have to be done, but considered that a fair price to pay. What I did not expect out of that trip was to hear from God. When I left for the Dominican Republic, I thought God was a concept, a guiding moral to help people be nice to one another. When I returned from the Dominican, I knew Him as a person, knew He loved me, and I had received His forgiveness. I heard God’s message while on that trip, but I did not hear it in a voice from heaven, or in a dream, or spelt out in the sky above the ocean. When God spoke to me, he did so through the voice of another teenager; my friend Denny.
In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, it says, “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.” Paul says that God, through Christ, is restoring His relationship with the whole world. When we come to faith in Jesus, we are reconciled to God, the relationship that sin has marred is mended. And Paul says that the ministry of reconciliation, the message of God’s love for the world, has been entrusted to us. God makes His appeal to the world through you and me. We serve as His ambassadors, relaying the message of a different kingdom to the people of this world.
Although some people hear from God in supernatural ways, the vast majority of people who come to faith in Christ do so because someone else shared this message of reconciliation with them. I, for one, do not feel qualified to serve as an ambassador of Jesus. But when Jesus gave His first disciples this duty, telling them to take His message all over the world, He also promised that He would always be with them. Know that as you serve as Christ’s ambassador to this world, that you are not doing it on your own. He is with you and His Spirit empowers you. God makes His appeal through you and me, and when that appeal is heard and accepted, the consequences reach into eternity.