Thursday, November 1, 2012
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I had already been feeling some of the residual sadness of another September 11th in America, and then the headlines screamed out that there had been another 9/11 tragedy. The deaths of an American ambassador and three of his staff, killed - as they often say about police officers or soldiers - in the line of duty.
Sounds like the man that we lost in that was the kind of person that we want representing our country. He was proficient in the language, he was out among the people, he was building relationships, taking risks so folks could be free - an ambassador.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "A Heroic Ambassador."
Now, with that word "ambassador" plastered all over our headlines, I kept thinking, "You know, I'm one, too." Just like every one of us who belongs to Jesus. I mean, it's right there in black-and-white in our word for today from the Word of God, in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 20: "We are Christ's ambassadors."
Now, that news flash was a vivid reminder of exactly what that title ambassador means. An ambassador is appointed by the highest authority there is (in this case, the President of the United States) to represent him in a specific place; Sometimes requiring risks - and yes, sacrifice.
So, along with all my spiritual brothers and sisters, I've been assigned by the highest Authority in the universe to represent Him wherever He places me. That makes the Jesus-follower the most important person in any room, whether anyone recognizes it or not, because he or she is representing Heaven.
That means I must act like Jesus, respond like Jesus, no matter what my circumstances or the way I'm getting treated. There's no excuses for losing my temper, or being harsh, or compromising my integrity, or acting selfish, flirting with sin, being too busy for people who need me, because He has staked His reputation on His ambassador. He literally says I am where He's put me "on Christ's behalf" in that same verse (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Now, I can't stay cloistered in the "embassy," well, I guess, the church. I have to do what my Master did - go outside the walls to meet people where they are. Ambassadors succeed or fail depending on how well they build relationships with the people where they're assigned. Well, no true Jesus-ambassador could be content just to hang out with those from their own spiritual "country." We've got to be intentional, passionate, about building authentic relationships with the people who need our Jesus.
I need to remember, too, that an ambassador's job is to fully and accurately deliver the message of the one who sent him. Now, for a Jesus-ambassador, that message is clear. 1 Corinthians 2:2 - "Nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Uncluttered by politics, my church, or my religion, personal hobby-horses, culture issues, or lifestyle attacks. Just Jesus and His cross. A message so eternally important that it needs to be delivered, not in my churchy "Christianese" language, but in the non-religious language of the people that I'm there to reach.
And, yes, there's risk involved. Just ask Jesus, the original and ultimate Ambassador of Heaven. He gave His life in exchange for mine. So I'm supposed to get off cheap? My fear of losing someone for eternity has to trump my fear of whatever I think I'll lose if I speak up for my Jesus.
I can't let the spinning gerbil wheel of an overstuffed life ever make me forget who I am - I'm on assignment from Heaven to help people go there.