Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
This is a parallel passage to Matthew 10:40, (“He who receives you receives Me”) though the occasions were different, and in either case the meaning is staggering for any thoughtful believer. In a nutshell, it is that we are very literally Christ’s representatives, just as He represented the Father on the earth. Paul understood that, writing in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are Christ’s ambassadors. The implications are immense. There is a danger of conceit, but any objective appraisal will quickly bring us to humility and dependence on God. In no way is this to make anyone strut around like a little rooster, proclaiming, “I am God’s representative.” Rather, it is to give us the assurance that God can, will, and does speak and act through us to bless people and draw them to Himself. It is also to comfort and encourage us that when people reject us we aren’t to take it personally, because they are really rejecting the One whom we serve. Actually, this is where it gets tricky, because this should not be an excuse for needlessly offensive behavior. Our hygiene and manners should be above reproach, and every word and action must be motivated by love for God and for our neighbor. (1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:15) If we have that as our operating premise, then we can be assured that people’s response to us is actually their response to Christ.
I have preached on this multiple times and want to do so again, because it is a truth I urgently want instilled in each believer. It is something I myself have grown in over the years, but still need more growth. The big question for me is all the people who have received Cathy and me so graciously over the 30 years we’ve been in Omura, yet who have never so much as attended church, much less made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. I have no definitive answer, and can only commit them to the grace of God. I know very well that Universalism is a non-Biblical heresy, and so ache to see these people safely in the fold, but I can’t force anyone through the gate. I can only walk in personal faithfulness and pray that God’s name be hallowed, His kingdom come, and His will be done.
Father, I do pray for the salvation of the people of Omura, and especially of the many with whom You have knit Cathy and me in friendship, sometimes very closely. I ask Your grace and mercy for them, and I pray that I would be totally available to You in drawing them into full commitment. I pray that each member of this church would likewise be an effective harvest worker, not only planting and watering but bringing in the sheaves of grain, so that Your house may be full, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!