After many years of faithful service, the ambassador to a major country was fired. The problem occurred when a dispute arose between his home country and the one he served in. At a press conference, when he was required to speak on behalf of his own government concerning a major disagreement — something that should come naturally to an ambassador — the man took the side of his foreign hosts.
The press ridiculed him. His colleagues were shocked. No one could believe that a man with a glowing resumé, a man admired by all and now in the last years of his career, could fail so dramatically.
Every diplomat knows that faithfulness to the country they represent is their primary duty. Paul used the analogy of an ambassador to show that followers of Jesus are citizens of heaven living in the world and speaking to the world on His behalf. This role is key because God makes His appeal to the world through His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).
In this role, we endure enticements that seek to lure us into a state where we become more comfortable in the world than in the body of Christ. Leaning away from Scripture and toward the prevailing opinions of our time can cause us to forget who we are and why we’re here. This can lead to espousing opinions that don’t reflect God’s view. If we embrace worldly ideas without giving thought to whether or not they have God’s approval, we are in danger of becoming overly comfortable in the land of our ambassadorship.
Pressure to conform is strong. And sometimes appealing. Ungodly philosophies appear enlightened, loving, and kind — everything a Christian should be. Everything except faithful. Like the fallen diplomat who adopted the mindset of a foreign country, we can become so entrenched in ideologies of the day that we become unfaithful to the One who commissioned us as an ambassador (2 Timothy 4:10).
Daniel is an example of a true ambassador for God. While he lived in exile in Babylon, he never forgot where he came from and Whom he belonged to. When praying became illegal, Daniel kept up his practice of kneeling three times a day. He was an Israelite and bowed before no man, even when that man was the king of the land and held Daniel’s life in his hands.
Life can be dangerous for faithful ambassadors: Daniel was thrown into a pit of hungry lions. God miraculously delivered him from death, but not all faithful representatives are rescued. The priority for Christ’s ambassadors is not deliverance but that the One who sends us finds us faithful.
Love for Christ urges us to make a decided commitment to remain faithful ambassadors for Jesus regardless of consequences. The failed ambassador’s loyalties had shifted. His actions informed everyone that he had become deeply rooted in his foreign field and had forgotten where his allegiance belonged. The transformation in him happened over a period of years and went unnoticed until a crisis brought it to public attention.
The ambassador’s career as a valued emissary ended in disgrace. His shredded reputation never recovered. Sometimes a crisis is needed to draw us back to faith in Christ.
We are living in a time of crisis now, and God is asking us, “Whom should I send?” May our answer be, “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV). May we be faithful to our calling (1 Corinthians 4:2).