Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessed Are The Peacemakers – SOTM #11

There was a time when it was considered both appropriate and admirable for a son to follow his father in his life work. Not so much anymore, at least in the individualistic cultures of the West. If anything, it is hoped that the son or daughter will “better themselves” by aspiring to a more prestigious or more lucrative vocation. It is hard to argue with that aspiration, especially when the child is lifting himself or herself out of poverty or escaping a dangerous or corrosive family atmosphere.  But there is still something admirable when a son or daughter sees value in the work their parent has done and decides to devote their life to continuing that work.

Jesus declared himself to be the image of his father. “If you have seen me,” he declared, “you have seen the Father.” So close was their will and purpose that he declared, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Jesus followed in his Father’s footsteps: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” Theirs was a perfect union of purpose and work: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

Thus Jesus modeled what it means to be a son or daughter of God. It means to know the will of God and to make it one’s own will. It means to sense when God is working, and how, and to what purpose, and then to devote oneself to being instrumental in all that God is doing.

So, what is God doing that His sons and daughter should be engaged in with Him. Many things, actually, and He does not require all His children to be engaged in all of them. But in one enterprise in which God is engaged, he desires all His children to join him. That is the enterprise of reconciliation.

First and foremost He is desirous that all humanity be reconciled unto himself. The apostle Paul declares that all of God’s children are to be engaged in that enterprise; to act as God’s ambassadors, calling on men and women to be “reconciled to God.” But further, He desires that men and women within His kingdom live at peace, and in harmony with one another. And finally He instructs us through scripture to live, to the degree that it is in our power, “at peace with all men.”

Reconciliation has been the work of our Father since the day that sin separated man from God. It is God’s will that all His children follow Him in His chosen work. It is hard work, and often the peacemaker does not get to see the result he or she would like to see. But God has not called us to be successful in all that we do. He has called us to be instruments through which He can reach out to those that are alienated by sin. Through His Holy Spirit He will make our peacemaking efforts as fruitful as they can be. We may be surprised someday to find that those cases we thought least successful have borne fruit we could not have imagined.

In no other way do we more resemble our Father than when we are peacemakers. In no other way do we bring more joy to the heart of God than by doing the work of reconciliation. There is rejoicing in heaven, Jesus tells us, when a single soul is reconciled to God.

Dare I say that it makes God proud when He sees us doing that work? Could it be that God smiles upon us when we are being peacemakers and declares, “There is My son; there is My daughter?”

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

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