Later that evening (Friday, July 8), I watched a segment about the birthday of the new nation of South Sudan, which had been struggling for its freedom for over 50 years. There were clips giving a brief history of the struggles. One clip concerned the peace agreement brokered between the North and South ending their civil war. There among all the African leaders stood America’s then Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
Scenes like these raise genuine American pride in me. I am proud of people like our Secretaries of state and our ambassadors who seek peace and freedom in other nations. Of course, I recognize that they are working for America’s advantage, but they also seem genuinely concerned for that of those to whom they represent America.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “So then we are ambassadors for Christ, as of God entreating through us, ‘we are urging you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.’”
In the devotional, Our Daily Bread for July 14 (I read ahead), Dennis Fisher made the following comment on this verse: “The ambassador must be a skilled communicator with both the country he (or she) represents and the one to which he goes. The effective Christian serves as an ambassador for the King of kings to this world.”
I wonder, do we? Do I?
I am usually impressed by America’s ambassadors and our Secretaries of State when I see them interviewed or consulted on the news. These people are smart – they know their stuff. They know not only the people and country they represent – the USA – but also the country to which they are representing the USA. (Yes, I realize there have been some colossal failures.)
Again, do we? I know of many Christians who somehow feel they are to isolate themselves from the very ones to whom we are sent as ambassadors. Many of us, I fear, are more like the young people who work the kiosks at the mall. They sit on their stools facing away from the people passing by, texting, reading, eating, talking among themselves. Aren’t they supposed to be selling their stuff to me, or least trying? It’s so refreshing to meet the occasional young woman or man who smiles and seems interested in those about them.
Paul was a man who knew and cared about those to whom he had been sent as ambassador. Even when confronting, as he did in Athens, people of a culture quite alien from his own, he could speak in their terms, even quote their authors (see: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD). I can only conclude that he had taken time to get to know about them, even to do a little advance homework and reading.
So, are we genuine ambassadors for Christ? Do we care about the people to whom He’s sent us enough to get to know them, to be interested in and concerned about their thoughts and dreams? Or are we just kiosk kids, just killing time to get through the day, oblivious to those around and their potential?