It’s the Monday after Easter, which means you likely still have a bit of the afterglow. Some of the songs about Christ’s resurrection are still in your head and you may even hear an echo of “The Lord has risen indeed!” But it won’t take long for the Monday-ness of Monday, the dull hum of life’s machinery, to crank back up and threaten to drown out the song in your heart and flatten the smile on your face.
Let me offer a brief meditation that could prevent that from happening. Yesterday in our study in Ephesians, I mentioned Paul’s self-reference as “an ambassador in chains” for the gospel (Ephesians 6:20). Take a moment for the paradox of that title to set in. An ambassador in chains. An ambassador (one traveling to a foreign land to represent and speak for his or her king) in chains (one bound, imprisoned, quarantined). An ambassador (one who attends fancy parties and mingles regularly with dignitaries) in chains (one guarded in a prison cell and given the bare minimum of food, clothing, and shelter). An ambassador in chains.
You are likely not in chains at the moment. You may occasionally use prison metaphors to describe your work or relationships, but you are not physically imprisoned as Paul was. You are an ambassador with a very busy schedule, an ambassador with some relational conflict to resolve, an ambassador whose children or boss or peers do not respect you. However you fill in that blank, your situation is less dire than being shackled in a Roman prison.
Paul did not downplay his situation. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote of being treated “like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:13). Yet this did not diminish his lofty sense of calling as an ambassador of the King. Through Paul’s proclamation of the crucified and risen Christ and his offer of reconciliation with God, God himself was making his appeal (2 Corinthians 5:20). He lived in the reality of his chains without losing his identity as God’s ambassador.
Let this challenge you to go about this day’s work without losing any of yesterday’s pastel joy and sung power of Christ’s resurrection. Let the truth of your status as raised and seated with Christ not be diminished by the condescending comment or the jammed printer. If Paul can be an ambassador in chains, you can taste Christ’s victory in the cubicle.
As you do, make Paul’s prayer your own–“that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19–20).