The Mission of Words
Why do we speak to other people?
First and foremost, we speak because it's our natural design. God hardwired us with the unique ability and desire to engage in a social environment.
But what motivates us to choose the specific words we use?
Maybe you speak to acquire an item: a train ticket, the bottle of ketchup at dinner, or critical data to help you complete that big project.
Maybe you speak to express emotion: frustration with a delay, affection for someone you love, or feedback on a task you assigned.
The examples are endless, but here's the point: every word in our conversation has a mission.
Whether we know it or not, and regardless of how large or small the conversation, we employ words to accomplish a mission.
The question is: what mission are we trying to accomplish?
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, the Apostle Paul defines what the mission of our words ought to be: "We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
Pause for a moment. Don't gloss over that familiar verse. God has appointed a position of majestic honor to unworthy sinners. Let the weight of that reality sink in.
As ambassadors, we are called to use our words to accurately represent the King of Kings who is not physically present. In the same way that Christ revealed the Father, we are called to reveal Christ.
So how can we be better stewards of our words, and better ambassadors for Christ? When I'm with someone, there's one question I try to ask (internally) before I open my mouth:
"Lord, what do you want this person to see or know about you in the current situation, location, or relationship of life where you have placed them?
That's our mission in conversation: how can I be used to accurately and beautifully depict Christ in the specific context of another person's life?
The problem is, I'm either unaware of my opportunity, or I bring my own selfish interests to the conversation. As a result, many of my conversations have little to no ambassadorial mission.
But for every missed opportunity, there are new morning mercies for the next conversation. And for every selfish motive, there is rescuing grace that frees us from bondage to the kingdom of self and welcomes us again as an ambassador for the Kingdom of God.
Let's consider the magnitude of our ambassadorial calling and allow it to radically change the way we engage in conversation and choose our words!
1. When was the last opportunity you missed to be an ambassador? What caused you to miss it?
2. Where are your current opportunities to be an ambassador this week? What can you do to prepare?
3. What sacrifices is God calling you to make to be a more effective ambassador? Why are those sacrifices difficult?
4. How are the Kingdom rewards of being an ambassador for Christ better than the temporary pleasures of the kingdom of self? Be specific.