Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
I have no doubt that at some time or another in your life you have been told that you were created in the image of God. Whether or not you fully grasped what that meant and what you did with it, I can’t say; but I’m willing to wager money on the fact that you’ve at least been told this truth. You were created in the image of God by God.
I wonder, though, if you’ve given much thought to the fact that everyone else around you was also created in God’s image. We have a tendency to interpret the Bible through self-centered lenses, only really looking for what we can apply to ourselves and what it means for us personally. There’s nothing wrong with looking for personal application in the Word, but there’s more there if we try to see it.
Your neighbor, the one you don’t ever talk to, was created in the image of God. He’s got a soul that won’t die and he, like the rest of us, hungers and thirsts for God’s love.
Your coworker, you know that annoying one you avoid, he’s also created by God in the image of God. He’s a fellow image-bearer of the Creator. Have you ever thought about that?
I’m not saying any of this to lay on a guilt trip. In fact, let me be the first to confess that I’ve been terribly ignorant to the fact that everyone I encounter is worthy in God’s eyes. Not passively ignorant either, willfully ignorant. I see what I want to see and if someone doesn’t appeal to me or serve some purpose in my life, I often pay them no mind. But is that what being an ambassador for Christ is? Is that what it means to be a minister of reconciliation?
2 Corinthians 5:16From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
To be an ambassador of Christ is to represent Him as though He was the one acting. If He did not count their trespasses against them, shall we? If He has entrusted us with the ministry of reconciliation, to appeal on His behalf, do we get to decide who is worthy of the message? If He took on sin even though He had none of His own, just so we could be reconciled with God, can’t we get a little uncomfortable for our neighbor?
I’ve got a lot of work to do in this area. My eyes don’t always see people as God sees them and often I’d rather ignore those who I don’t like rather than ministering to them, but God has placed them in my path. He’s put me where I am for such a time as this. He’s put you right where you are, near the people you’re near, in the position you’re in, to be His ambassador, His minister of reconciliation.
What’s it take to do this? First, lots of prayer. We can’t handle this task without a LOT of prayer. Asking God to bless our plans isn’t nearly as good as asking to get into His plans. We’ll also need the help of the Holy Spirit. He can love others like we can’t, so we’ve got to let Him operate and show His love through us. To do this, we’ve got to be available. The number one way to get into God’s will is to just be available to do so. He’ll make it happen. He’s often already at work in someone’s life before we even get to them, tilling the soil.
Sometimes we wait for bigger opportunities to become available of more deserving people, but we miss what’s right in front of us that God has placed there. Let’s be available to do God’s will. Let’s view everyone as worthy because they’ve been created in the image of God, just like you and me.