What’s the best title you’ve ever had? Titles usually matter in the places where we work. At a grocery store, we might be a “cashier” or an “associate manager.” At an office, we might be a “clerk” or a “receptionist.” Titles might reference our accomplishments (Dr, Ph,D, MPH), letting people know what we’ve done and what we know. But titles can also be ambiguous and varied. When I built websites for a living, I gave myself a new title almost every month. Every client I worked with required a different kind of a title. I was a “designer,” “graphic designer,” “web designer,” “web programmer,” “project manager,” or “new media expert.” My titles changed all the time but I did keep one that was consistent. On my business cards, I took a joke from the comedian Mitch Hedberg, calling myself “Marc, Potential Lunch Winner.”*
Titles, however, aren’t restricted to what we do. We come with titles the moment we are born. We are parents, children, siblings, and relatives. We are caregivers, care-receivers, senior citizens, and children. Once we enter the world, we are human beings. These titles are not defined by what we do. They are defined by the relationships we are given because we are people in God’s beloved world. In the world of work, our worth is defined by the title we have. In the world as God sees it, our worth is reflected in the titles God gives us. We are not limited by the titles God gives us because the the God who created, sustained, and died for us gives us a title of value nothing can take away from us.
We are, in our baptism, given a title that does not depend on what we do. We are declared as part of the body of Christ. We are made into Christians. This is the title that describes who we are and whose we are. And this is who we are, this title then informs everything else we do. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:13, we are made “ambassadors for Christ.” As an ambassador, we are Christ’s representative in the world. We are called to follow him. We are given his ministry of reconciliation and hope. We love like he did and still does. Today’s passage from 2 Corinthians is Paul’s attempt to describe what Jesus’ ministry looks like. It’s centered in patience, kindness, truthful speech, and genuine love. It’s a ministry that isn’t easy and will often make us (and others) uncomfortable. But we get to do the hard business of love because we are loved. You are Christ’s ambassador. May all of us live this title fully and faithfully.
*I was one of those folks who put their business card in the jar at every business he went to. I really wanted to win one of the free lunches they were raffling off. I never did.
Each week, I write a reflection on one of our scripture readings for the week. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship Bulletin for 5th Sunday after Pentecost, 6/24/2018.