Before I begin my post this morning I thought it would do well to define the two words that I am going to be talking about. Both of the word’s definitions are taken from the merriam-webster dictionary online.
Ambassador: an official envoy; especially : a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment.
Tourist: one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture.
Even as I read through these two definitions there is a stark difference between the functions of the two. So let me explain my thoughts a little bit.
This past week I have been thinking about what it means to belong to the Kingdom of Christ yet still be living here on this world. Many of us would agree that we are to be in the world but not of it. Many times in bible study and church we hear the old saying that we are sojourners in a foreign land. We are ambassador’s for the Kingdom of God and are to carry His message to the world. This is all true. Every time I hear someone say these things and many more about what it means to be an heir with Christ I agree. Amen.
But do we really believe? I mean, we believe it, that bible tells us so, but do we really “believe” it? Is it something that is at the front of our mind as we conduct out business? When dealing with others in this world do we conduct ourselves as an ambassador or tourist?
As I sat this past week thinking about this issue it dawned on me that for the most part I conduct myself as a tourist. For you see a tourist is someone who is on vacation. They enjoy the sights and culture of their surroundings instead of conducting business as if on a mission. Tourist are held to a standard of making sure that they don’t reflect bad on their homeland but they do not suffer any consequences like that of an ambassador for not doing so. Tourist go to a land and country to have fun and enjoy what the country has to offer.
I believe that although many of us don’t intentionally act like tourists we end up living that way. I know that it can be very easy for a believer to fall into this trap. Especially in our day and age. We live in a culture and society that tells us to enjoy the fruit without working for it. Our society tells us we deserve the pleasure and comfort of all that it has to offer, and oh boy does it offer some good ones (at least in our sinful eyes). Who of us hasn’t said in our heart “Why should I work more? Didn’t I earn this? That would be fun.”? So for the most part we end up living (myself being the biggest offender I know) like we are tourists on a holiday away from home.
If like me you find yourself thinking that if the way you live doesn’t seem all that bad I would encourage both of us to look at what a true ambassador does for their job. In the definition above it states that an ambassador is the resident representative of their government or sovereign accredited to a foreign government or sovereign. What this means is that an ambassador is not a tourist. They represent all that the sending sovereign stands for. Their whole purpose in going to the foreign land is to advance the agenda of their own. It is to look after the interest of their sending government when it comes to interactions with the receiving one. This does not mean that an ambassador doesn’t enjoy their time or have fun but that their purpose is not a holiday but a mission. They are sent to primarily advance the mission of their government/sovereign.
So what about us? If we are called and constantly talking about being ambassadors for the Kingdom of God what are the implications? Well, honestly it means that our lives and goals should not be reflect that of the culture around us. Tourists mimic the culture they go into so that they might enjoy it to the fullest extent possible, Ambassadors however maintain their homelands culture and work towards advancing the interest of their homeland. They don’t want to mimic the culture around them but instead influence it.
This is how we are christians should act. We shouldn’t mimic our culture but instead grab hold of the great commission and live it out. We should make disciples for our great Lord and King and act like the tourists on this earth. I believe that this is the challenge of our day. For me it is probably one of the hardest challenges in my life. To live my life in light of my salvation by Christ. To make much of Him in my culture and not to allow my culture to conform me to it. So my brothers and sisters in Christ let us take up our commission and make disciples.
Let us be genuine…