April 27, Thursday

 The AMI QT Devotionals from April 24-30 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston.  Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny; and they are the proud parents of their first baby Tyler.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

“Not Tourists but Ambassadors”

2 Corinthians 5:20

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

One of the biggest pitfalls of the social media is that we see pictures of people on vacation.  We’ll go into Facebook and see that friend from college having an amazing time, swimming with dolphins in the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.  Or on Instagram, we may see a neighbor on a rustic European vacation, surveying the beautiful Roman architecture, hiking through the Alps, and eating exquisite European cuisine.

Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a vacation or going sightseeing, but when we see these pictures pop up on our screen, a couple of problems arise:  First of all, most of us can’t avoid feeling a sense of envy or comparison and think, I need to go to such and such a place and take in the sights, sounds, and food! We can’t help but want to be tourists of all of these different parts of the world.  Secondly, as we are exposed to these pictures again and again, we get lulled into a mindset that this world is our playground and that the main purpose of going to any place is for our enjoyment and consumption.  These destinations end up being places to be used and enjoyed, where we just drop in for our own personal pleasure and then leave.  Meanwhile, we become desensitized to the fact that these are places are where people live, where there are people who need to be reconciled to God, and where people are in need of a Savior.

We are not called to be tourists to all of the hotspots of this world—but rather we called to be ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors do go to foreign lands, but they don’t go only to consume and enjoy; they go to represent their kingdom, appealing to others on behalf of their king.  As ambassadors for Christ, we are called to go and cross cultures—domestically and internationally—with a divine purpose.  We need to see every person that we encounter as people that God wants to make His appeal to, so that we could be a blessing to the people of this world.  Let us strive to represent our King this day as ambassadors for Christ!

Prayer: Jesus, I pray that today, I can be an ambassador for You. Help me live in this world while not being of this world. Help me turn away from a consumer mindset, but instead may I seek to be a blessing wherever I go this day.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Leviticus 20


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Jonah 4:5-10: Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

Questions to Consider

  1. What made Jonah exceedingly glad about the plant?
  2. How did Jonah feel about the people of Nineveh?
  3. How often do you and I have more love for inanimate objects, and what they do for us, than for people we see or walk by every day, people made in the image of God? According to this passage, how does God feel about them?

Notes

  1. Because it provided a shade for him as he sat in the hot sun—he enjoyed the plant because of what it did for him.
  2. It says that Jonah was sitting where he sat to “see what would become of the city,” thinking he had front row seats for when the city of Nineveh would be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Clearly, Jonah had no love for the 120,000 people of the city of Nineveh.  He did not see them as people whom God loved and wanted to make His appeal towards, but he essentially saw them in his own mind as less than human.
  3. God clearly has a heart for the people of Nineveh—calling it a “great city”—and God even makes it a point to show that He knows the number of people in that city. We should reflect on our own hearts and how we need more of God’s heart for the people of this world.

EVENING REFLECTION

What does it mean for you to live like an ambassador of Christ in your neighborhood, school, job, family, etc.?  Think about how you can continue to change your mindset from that of a tourist/consumer, to that of ambassador, as you experience God’s heart for you.

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