Friday, May 11, 2018
Proverbs 25:13 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters.
John 17:18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
Years ago, as my mother battled pancreatic cancer, a messenger delivered some news to my mom that at the time seemed incredible. She had undergone some additional tests to determine the extent and growth of her cancer. The doctor had been surprised when he saw how strong she was. He asked her if she wanted to know what was happening and the prognosis. She said yes, and a CT scan of the liver and pancreas along with blood tests were all done. When he called her the next day he informed her that there was no longer any evidence of a tumor in the pancreas, that the liver enzymes were normal, and the swelling of the liver had diminished. He was not ready to call it a miracle, but we were!
We were obviously excited about the news, and we thanked the doctor who had delivered it to us. At the time, we knew God was the Author of the message, for He had orchestrated the healing without any medical intervention. The Doctor was simply the messenger of what Someone else had done.
Messengers don’t create the message: they only deliver what the Master has already stated. When the Apostle Paul describes Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25-30, he called him a messenger. Epaphroditus started out as a brother in Christ sharing a love for Jesus with Paul. He then became a faithful worker, serving Christ alongside of Paul with a mutual goal of spreading the gospel of Jesus. His faithful service qualified him to become a soldier who could follow orders and advance the cause of Christ into enemy territory without the fear of him going AWOL or becoming an enemy sympathizer. Now, because he was a loyal soldier, he could be trusted to become a messenger to deliver the good news of freedom to those trapped behind enemy lines. Paul and the people of the church at Philippi recognized that Epaphroditus could be trusted to carry out his orders and deliver his message.
It is interesting that the Greek word for messenger used by Paul is the word apostolos, which is translated apostle. Now Epaphroditus was not an official Apostle of the New Testament because he had not been a personal witness of the resurrected Savior prior to His ascension into glory. But it is significant that all faithful disciples of Jesus have been given the same responsibility as the original Apostles – “Go and deliver a message of good news.” We are all called to be messengers of the Gospel. In fact, when Jesus said to His Father, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world,” the word He used for “sent” was apostellō, of the same origin as Apostle.
The Master has sent us to the world as messengers of the good news. The question now is, how faithful and trustworthy are we as His messengers? When the doctor delivered the news of my mom’s test results, he was apprehensive and cautious. I can understand his guarded optimism because he is a messenger of medical science. Had the news been the result of medical technology his enthusiasm would have been enhanced and medical science would have received the honor and glory. But my parents and I, who heard the same news, reacted totally differently. We did not hear a message from medicine, but a message from God. The messenger may not have known it, but he was delivering a message from the Master not from medicine. The message was the same, but the recognition of the creator of the message was different. We responded with praise and thanksgiving and overwhelming joy. We responded with glory to God. The messenger received no honor, but only the creator of the message.
That’s what a trustworthy messenger does – he makes sure the message is more important than the messenger, and that the Master of the message gets all of the credit for the message. When we draw attention to ourselves as we deliver God’s message, the Holy Spirit of God is stifled and the message loses its impact and power. Even Jesus Christ, the ultimate messenger, made sure all the credit for what He said went to the Father.
- For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:49 – 50).
So as you go out into your life today and every day, recognize the incredible privilege you have to be a messenger of God, and recognize the awesome nature of the message you have been sent to deliver – JESUS SAVES AND WILL SET YOU FREE! Be a trustworthy messenger. Go and deliver the message.
BONUS POINT: Later on we discovered the Doctor’s message was wrong, and mom’s pancreatic cancer was still there, and it eventually took her life. NOT SO WITH GOD”S MESSAGE. We can proclaim it loudly and boldly, for it is absolute truth.