Hot on the heels of Paul's encouragement to the Corinthian Church to please God in all they do, he now reminds them of the calling that is upon them - they are to join him in being agents of reconciliation! A number of years ago my eldest son and I went halves in a jetski. He had used his mates craft a number of times but my only experience with something that small was a Kayak, but hey, how hard can it be. Excited by the new 'toy' I took the craft down to Mordialic with my younger son so we could spend the afternoon cruising the waterways - ahh the joy. We launched it and I attempted to start it but nothing. For a period of 45 min I floated around with my son pulling on the rope to bring me back towards the ramp. I checked everything I could think of but the thing would not start. I was frustrated and pretty angry that the thing was faulty and my son was pretty disappointed. After an hour we pulled it back onto the trailer and headed home. Later that day I recounted what had happened and my eldest son calmly enquired - "was it switched to the empty spare tank by any chance". I paused and reflected - There is a spare tank? And there is a switch too? Didn't know that. Sure enough, the switch was turned to the empty spare tank so the fact that the main tank was full did not really help us. It was a 'rookie' mistake and one that from time to time my sons remind me of. I had not appraised myself of the equipment, nor how best to use it. In this section of Paul's letter, he declares that together they have a ministry of reconciliation; they are as it were, special agents in the service of the King of Kings. Importantly, God has equipped them with what they need to get this ministry of reconciliation done.
There are a number of points to note and appreciate because they provide practical resourcing for us.
Christs love compels us (vs 14) - It all starts with what Christ has done and his love, demonstrated on the cross and lived out in his practical love for us his servants does provide a significant motivation to do the work of God. Motivation is always significant when it comes to the work of the Kingdom because motivation stems from what God in Christ has already done; it does not depend on our strength and that motivates us.
In Christ, we are a new creation (vs 17) - Because the 'old has gone' the failures of the past, together with the memories of things not working, have been set aside, they are gone, done and dusted. Years ago as we were watching our son play in the National Youth League (soccer) Maz got very frustrated; "Why do they keep taking the ball backwards, the goal is the other way". I attempted to educate her in the 'finer art of football play'. I told her that they need to move the ball back, set up play and start again. She looked at me, looked at the pitch and saw them doing it again, having again failed and exclaimed. "If they want to start over again properly they better get new players out there, the old ones aren't working". And she was right. So is Paul. The old way and the old players are not working and God has done something decisive to bring about a new creation, transformed now for Kingdom work.
God makes his appeal through us - He does the work and gives the word. His actions become our actions as he empowers us. Chapter 6:1-2 makes it clear that Paul is including the Corinthian people in this ministry as ambassadors. God recreates us and resources us so that he is indeed working through us - HE is what makes us his agents.
Take opportunity today to step into this work as Christ's ambassador. As Paul declares "so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (vs 21) How might you live out the reality of you being the rightness of God as you live for him in your neighbourhood, workplace or place of study?