Thursday, January 29, 2009

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt

This was a portion of a speech given by Roosevelt in 1910 at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. He was speaking about citizenship in a republic, but I can’t help to apply this to our lives as citizens of another kingdom.   

In 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Paul is encouraging (vs. 6) the church to see ourselves as a "new creation."  Paul not only impresses upon us our identity as a new creation, but he gives us a purpose. That purpose is the "ministry of reconciliation", our purpose is to invite the world to come to know God.  We are ambassadors; we are God's voice to the lost, and we are the "righteousness of God in Him." We are to not critique those “in the arena,” but to get dirty and sweaty, to “strive valiantly” even if it appears that our work is in vain.

God, the Creator of the Universe, gave us this ministry. It is in verse 18 that I was encouraged by this message-"Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation….” What an awesome gift, a purpose, that we are looked at by God, not as we look at each other by the flesh, but as His new creation (vs. 16) who have been charged with the “valiant work” of fulfilling His will, in this desperate and lost world. 

We now look at each other as citizens of the kingdom of God. We do not look at each other according to the flesh; that is we do not care about educational, financial, or familial standings. We look at each other as brothers and sisters of our Father; we look at each other as the righteousness of God.  WOW. How much will that changed perspective affect the body?  How many sins are covered up in love (1 Peter 4:8)?  

If we saw our work as God’s work, if we “strived to do great deeds” for God, rather than for ourselves; if we spent our lives in “great devotion” to each other’s good. What might be accomplished? 

We not only look at one another differently; we look at the world through the eyes of God - LOST!  And we ache and run "daring greatly" to reconcile them to the Lord! 

In Christian Love   Mike Soto