Ambassadors, Part 2
1 - An ambassador represents the country he is coming from, not the country he is sent to.
This certainly seems obvious. When the President of the United States calls a person into his office and requests that they go to another country as ambassador, he is sending them as a representative of the United States. He expects that they will get to know the culture he is sending them into so that they can be more effective in their representation, but their allegiance must still be to their home country.
Christians are the same way. In John 17, as Jesus prays for his disciples, He states the same principle. “They are not of the world, as I am not of it”, however “I have sent them into the world.” Jesus has sent us to represent him. We are in the world, recruited and sent as representatives, but we are not of the world. We are ambassadors of His kingdom. When missionary kids who have spent their whole lives overseas come to the United States, the land of their citizenship, on furlough or for college they can have a hard time adjusting to life in this nation. They have lived so long in another culture that it has become home to them. Unless they constantly remind themselves that they are citizens of the United States, they will act, and think like citizens of another country. The same thing can happen to us. We are citizens of heaven, but we live in the world, and it’s culture and ways seem normal to us. We were recruited here on earth and we have never lived in heaven. We have heard about it, but we have never seen or experienced it. The culture of heaven seems foreign and strange because it is so different. We are torn between the world we live in and the one we are called to represent. And when it comes time to stand up and be counted, we aren’t always stellar examples of heavenly citizens, espousing heavenly views.
In the book of Numbers we meet a man with the same problem. As the children of Israel leave Egypt and head for the Promised Land, a group of kings hear of their movements and try to find a way to stop them. They approach a prophet who it just so happens serves the God of Abraham. He is not an Israelite, but the God he seeks for advice is the God of Abraham. When he is asked to curse Israel, he cannot do it because both the Israelites and this prophet are representatives of the same kingdom. (Read the story in Numbers 22.) And yet as the story progresses, we find that Balaam is so caught up in the culture he lives in that he eventually betrays the Kingdom of God to serve the kings of the earth. He forgets that he is an ambassador representing another kingdom, an eternal kingdom. What about you? Are you representing the kingdom of heaven, or has your time in this world made you forget exactly who has sent you?
Next time: Ambassadors are messengers