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Called and sent
You are where you are for a reason. Your vocation, your neighbors, your community, and your many associations are a world you inhabit to which you were sent. Every one of us has a sphere of influence that touches many lives and that involvement makes our relationships eternally significant.
If you ever heard about God sending people to the mission field and assumed that if you didn’t go you are somehow without a mission, this is simply not true. There is absolutely no difference between you and me and a missionary heading out to some dark corner of the world. We are all sent. (Besides, dark corners are everywhere.)
Wherever you go you represent Christ because you know him, and your mission is to introduce him to people who haven’t met him yet. The opportunity to do this is generated by respect. As we walk through our communities and workplaces, we can generate an interest in Christ by extending the same respect for others that Christ has extended to us. We do this regardless of whether we like someone or not, or whether they have been mean or unfair to us. Respect is something every human being deserves, regardless, because everyone is made in the image of God and as such reflects something of the Creator’s likeness. Peter wrote to us about always being ready to explain our hope, but to do it “with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:16 NIV)
And if it is hard to respect someone, remember Christ initiated a relationship with us while we were dead set against him and still in our sin (Romans 5:6-8). None of us started off this relationship very well, in other words, and yet someone reached out to us through Christ’s love; we can do the same. And we do this – each of us – in the context of the particular cluster of people we know and operate in. No one else has your exact circle of influence. That is an influence all your own – like your own entire mission field.
So never think lightly, or negatively, of your position or your place in life. We’ve all been called and we’ve all been placed right where we are for a reason. And the people around us are that reason. May God open our eyes to the importance of our place in the world and the importance and great value of everyone we encounter today.