Summary: We are ambassadors - never forget to which Kingdom we belong, but let us love the people of this world as much as Jesus loves them.
Loving Seekers Deeply: Experiencing Biblical Community
After the resurrection of Jesus, the believers experienced the incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit came power, which was evident in miracles and in changed lives and in the incredible growth of the church; and with the Holy Spirit came community. By community, I mean the deep, loving, caring relationships that the believers shared together. As we read through the book of Acts, we see how they ate together and prayed together and worshipped together and witnessed together.
In the beginning of chapter 8 we saw how God began to take the incredible good news of the resurrection of Jesus beyond the small circle of believers in Jerusalem, and how they embraced the people of Samaria. (map). That brings us to today’s passage of Scripture, Acts 8:26-40.
How Much Love?
How much did God love this Ethiopian eunuch? Think about it for a moment: God had obviously been at work in this man’s life previously, drawing him to Jerusalem to worship in the temple. And now, here he is, on a desert road, reading Scripture. And God knows he is ready, he knows what is going on in this incredibly powerful man’s life and heart at that moment, and God knows he is ready to respond to the Gospel of Jesus. So God plucks a powerful servant of His out of a highly successful Samaritan evangelism campaign, with all kinds of new converts who need to be discipled and organized and trained for ministry, and sends him off to a deserted road in the middle of nowhere. How much did God love this man, how much effort did God go to to make sure that he was able to hear the good news of Jesus?
Now think about this: does God love you any less? Reflect for a moment on all that God has done in your life to bring you to Himself; does God love you any less? Think about your journey, whether it was one where you were (or are) fighting God’s call on your life, or it was dramatic the way God reached into the middle of a messed up life and brought you out of a miserable place, or whether you were gifted as a young person with people around you who loved God and loved you and modeled Christian faith. Think about how much God has done in your life to get you to this place, where you have come to worship him. God certainly does not love you any less than this Ethiopian official!
Let me take that one step further: does God love your neighbour, your coworker, your family member any less? The last little while, I have found myself praying that I would see other people the way that God sees them, through His eyes rather than my own. It is especially useful when finding myself annoyed at another driver or a noisy neighbour or a slow cashier. “Lord, how do you see this person?” Invariably, I am reminded of the depth of God’s love for
People, especially those who are not in a relationship with Him. Especially those whom the Bible calls “lost”. God has gone to extreme measures to restore humanity’s lost relationship with Him – and I really believe that if it those “extreme measures” were not so familiar to us we would shake our head in complete amazement.
God has entrusted to you and to me the incredible privilege of being His ambassador in our lost world. For reasons of His own, He has chosen to use us to declare the message of salvation, the good news of forgiveness and hope and love, to people around us who have an incredible need for good news, for forgiveness, for hope, and for a love that is pure and constant and full of power.
George Shultz was sworn in on July 16, 1982, as the sixtieth U.S. Secretary of State and served until January 20, 1989. During this time in the Reagan administration, Shultz kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with him and when ambassadors returning from their posts for their first visit with him were leaving his office, Shultz would test them. He would say, "You have to go over the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country." They would go over, spin the globe, and each time they would put their finger on the country to which they were being sent. When Shultz’s old friend and former Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan, even he was put to the test. However, this time Ambassador Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States. He said: "That’s my country." Shultz said: "I’ve told that story, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out. ’Never forget you’re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You’re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world.’ "