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In the Bible, although angels were used by God for a variety of purposes, the primary use was to deliver a message. In fact, the very word "angel" means "messenger." Webster's 1828 Dictionary further defines an angel as "one employed to communicate news or information from one person to another at a distance." Angels played a huge role in the story of Christ's birth, delivering messages from God to Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and likely to the wise men. But it is the angel's message to the shepherds that has struck me as being very similar to the part that we believers have been asked to play in God's master plan of redemption. Just as God dispatched an angel with a specific message for a specific group of people on a Bethlehem hillside, God has dispatched us with a specific message for a specific group of people. We have been commissioned to bear the Gospel to a lost and dying world.
The problem is, some messengers, while their heart may be in the right place, are extremely ineffective. A few days ago one of the men in our church told me about a "messenger" he saw walking the streets near a busy market. The man, a foreigner, was carrying a megaphone, and his message consisted of two words and one dramatic hand motion. First he would say (into the megaphone) "Jesus." Then he would slowly extend his arm and point up to the sky. Then he would speak another word into the megaphone, "Heaven." He walked all around the market repeating this phrase and hand motion again and again, and saying nothing else. According to my friend, half the people were amused and the other half of the people were confused. And no wonder! Regardless of the sincerity of the man, he was an ineffective messenger.