I am a citizen of heaven, an ambassador to Earth
Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:18-20 HCS
I lived in a traffic-strangled capital city in West Africa. The dust and heat rolled off the streets, through my windows and into my living room. Nothing was pretty there – not my house, nor anyone else’s.
One day, my kids were invited to a playdate by a woman whose husband was the second-in-command at the U.S. Embassy. I walked through her gates and into paradise. Her swimming pool was sparkling blue, her grass lush green. Tasteful furniture adorned rooms that could accommodate a crowd of hundreds. As my toddler gleefully dove into her treasure box of toys, I just sat and stared. I had been years outside the States, and I had forgotten what luxury looked like.
“You have a beautiful home,” I managed.
“Thank you,” she said with a smile. “It’s yours. It belongs to the American people.”
Her gracious answer stunned me for a moment, until I considered who she was. Her whole reason for being in that country was to represent the United States of America. She didn’t consider her home her own. It was owned by the Embassy, a tool to do her job. Her entire life was about ambassadorship.
And so shouldn’t ours be? We are Christ’s ambassadors here on earth. Our reason for being here is to represent His kingdom to this foreign land, Earth.
What does that mean in practical terms?
In practical terms, it means that my view on life needs shifted into a fresh light.
I remember having a talk with a couple of junior high girls several years ago. Bright, pretty girls chalked full of potential—leadership, popularity, and a good start in Biblical understanding. But they weren’t acting like the princesses I knew they were called to be. I remember telling them, “you have ‘Jesus’ stamped on your foreheads, and the way you are acting doesn’t make Him look very good.” (Several years later, I’m happy to share they have both become lovely young women, inside and out. Praise God, and keep praying.)
This verse beckons that memory. I live in a small town, and I’m a very active member of our church, so everything I do in our community is noticed. So, when I’m in the store, in a hurry and in line at the speedy check-out, how do I respond to the sweet gal in front of me who has decided to write out a check with careful script, meticulously subtracting her deduction from her checkbook register? Do I huff with impatience, roll my eyes at the checker who glances to me with an apologetic look? Or, do I offer to help the woman with her bag?
When I coach little girls’ softball, and the ump makes a call I don’t agree with, do I throw a fit? Or, do I cheer my girls on, telling them life is like that sometimes and we have to just keep swinging away?
Or how about when I am walking with my kids and my gum has lost its flavor. Do I spit it in a yard that is clearly unkempt, because it wouldn’t matter anyway? Or do I respect the property that is not my own as if it were mine, because another human being made in the image of God lives there?
An ambassador of Christ shows who God is to a godless world. They carry the emblem of the King, saying, ‘this is not my home, I am a citizen of a land far away, but I have been entrusted to bear His name in a foreign land.” They view the things in their lives; home, finances, children, and toys as things they are placed over as stewards, not as owners. They view their days as new opportunities to call out to the lost with the very way that they live.
An ambassador lives as an alien in a foreign land on purpose and with purpose. What impression will I leave today?