Don’t shoot the messenger is a well-known saying, because being shot is part of a messenger’s job description.
Well, not necessarily being shot, so to speak. But bearing the brunt of a recipient’s displeasure at receiving unwelcome news is a distinct possibility for all messengers. Including us; God’s posties.
Regardless of the fact we’re personally delivering God’s Impartial Invitation to a life of love and liberty, it’s not a message that everyone wants to hear. However, in a sense, it is also irrelevant what people do with that message. Because changing lives is not our job.
Delivering the mail is.
We measure our success by how faithful we are in following our instructions to deliver God’s message.
Yet, in saying that, it can be discouraging when we don’t see results. Reflecting on this, I thought of Christ who came to issue God’s impartial, loving invitation in a very personal way and was–worse than that shot–crucified.
The Alpha postie
Christ left His glory and walked among us to teach and reveal the kingdom of God. His message received a mixed response. And ultimately, he was killed because of it.
Jesus was not naïve of what awaited him on his delivery circuit. The scorning, betrayal, and torture did not surprise Him. He knew His message would be welcomed by a few, taken up then put aside by most, and flat out rejected by the rest.
Yet, He still faithfully carried the message to everyone whom the Father sent Him to. And He prayed for them … us;
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.John 17:14-19
Christ set himself apart to be a holy sacrifice that would both save us–achieve the Father’s purpose–and to consecrate us for God’s service.
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.John 19:30
Christ had achieved His goal. But crucified, dying on the cross, where was the visible fruit of his sacrifice and earthly ministry? His cousin, mum, and a few other women remained faithful. None of whom could be mistaken for “influencers”.
Thankfully, Jesus’ success was not measured in numbers. Rather, it was determined by his willingness to obey the Father’s command in the face of open hostility; even to death, death on a cross.
But I have been challenged to do more than take encouragement from God’s view of success. I have been convicted to look at how Christ responded to the reaction He received.
Love in action
Our Lord loved despite rejection. In fact, everything He did was about love, for love, and in love:
- He met betrayal with a kiss. Judas and Peter were not condemned for their actions; the door was open for them to return.
- Jesus countered false accusation with silence. His case rested in His life’s testimony; He didn’t need to say more.
- The whip and chains fell upon a submissive will. The Messiah could have called down the armies of heaven to retaliate against His unjust treatment; yet, He obeyed His Father’s will, not His own.
- Compassionate flesh absorbed piercing nails. Our Lord and Saviour prayed for those who tortured him, not condemning them for their ignorance; He came to save, not judge.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 15:5-6
How can I, with a clear conscience, receive that grace Jesus prayed for, and not go and do the same? How can I be discouraged when others don’t respond to my message?
Because after all, it is not my message, it’s His.
It is not for my glory, it’s for His.
We carry God’s impartial invitation, by living a life to His glory, in the power of the Spirit, with the gifts and experiences He has given and allowed us to bear, in the loving, sacrificial footsteps of Christ.
- Do you struggle with feelings of failure in your Christian walk?
- How do you measure the success of your relationship with God?
- Does the command to love as Christ loved cause you to stumble?