Ken Welborn, executive director of Christian Ministries to the United Nations, visited Bison Hill Wednesday, Sept. 30, challenging Oklahoma Baptist University students to be both "salt" and "light," using the Christian metaphors found in Matthew 5. Welborn spoke during OBU's weekly chapel service.
In his work among ambassadors, diplomats and secretariats at the United Nations, Welborn said he serves as an ambassador for Jesus Christ to 10,000 people from 192 nations representing the religions of the world.
"But as (these representatives) are there, these people are looking and are in great need," Welborn said. "They are there on a professional journey, and they are there on a journey for their government. But many of them do not understand and have no relationship with the God that created them.
Welborn said in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), God calls all Christians to make disciples of the nations. In his work at the United Nations, Welborn said God has brought the nations together in one place.
He said the Apostle Paul instructs all Christians in 2 Corinthians 5:20 to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ. He said Webster's Dictionary defines ambassador as "an official representative with a special message."
"We serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords," Welborn said. "In his anointing and his appointing, he has called us to be his ambassadors. ... He has called us, each and every one of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, to be his ambassadors. We are officially appointed and called and anointed by him for the task."
Welborn said Christians have been given an official message: to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. When Jesus told his disciples "you are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13), Welborn said Jesus is explaining the impact Christians have in this world. He said that just as salt flavors food, the lives of Christians should have a savoring flavor to other people that reveals joy indescribable, peace that passes understanding and eternal life, so others will also want to have such a life.
"The caution is to not lose our saltiness," Welborn said. "If you want to be the salt of the earth, ... and not lose that saltiness where people aren't listening to you any longer, guard your reputations. Ambassadors, guard your reputations. Remember whose you are. Remember the Kingdom you represent and the Lord you serve. It's not about you any longer. It's all about him."
Welborn referred to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book, "The Cost of Discipleship." The book is the foundation of the year's chapel theme, "Costly Illumination: Counting Everything Loss in Light of the Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ."
Jesus also told his disciples "you are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). Welborn said Bonhoeffer contends Christians already are the light of the world - it's not a choice, it's a fact. As an illustration, Welborn conveyed the story of a young Sudanese boy who, despite persecution, stood up for his faith as an ambassador for Jesus.
Welborn said his prayer is that the students will remember the story of the Sudanese boy, and also remember they belong to Jesus Christ. He encouraged the students to stand for Christ - and with Christ - for their entire lives.