Sunday, August 31, 2014

In Disguise

At a wonderful church we visited last Sunday, a man who is a State trooper gave a testimony about a mission trip he went on to the inner city of Philadelphia. 

He shared about feeling the Holy Spirit lead him to sit with a heroin addict, not really talking or preaching, just sitting, silently praying for her.  Being present to someone who the world generally pretended was invisible. 

He also talked about a conversation he had with the kind of guy he was used to arresting.  The guy was surprised to hear what he did, saying, “I didn’t know there were any of you like this.”  Through this encounter, they both saw the other not as ‘other’ but as human, as needing the love of God.

Right at the end he said of his testimony, he told us, “I'm not really a State trooper.  God has disguised me as one, but that’s not who I am.  I am an Ambassador for Christ.” 

Then he said to us, “You are not a teacher, or a student or whatever you do. You are only disguised as one.  You are an Ambassador.” 

An ambassador “is sent by one sovereign state to another as its resident representative”. Ambassadors are sent where the state chooses them to go.  They are sent where they are needed. 

To accomplish their mission, ambassadors need to take care not to alienate those to whom they have been sent.  That means, learning about the new place, interacting with the citizens and leaders, finding out what is the most effective way to convey their message. 

Ambassadors are not sent to see the sights, make personal gains, or push their own agenda through.  They need to be above reproach, fulfilling their duties with excellence.  Failing to do so reflects poorly on their sending country, and can actually jeopardize the mission. 

They also do not have the right to change the mission or the message of the country they represent.  Doing so is a fast way to be recalled.

Ambassadors may grow to love the new place and feel at home there, but to be effective they must never forget their true home. 

As follows of Christ, we are His ambassadors, sent into the world to represent our true King and His kingdom.  As Paul told the Corinthians, it is “as though God were making His appeal through us” (I Corinthians 5:20).  Through His Holy Spirit, God’s ambassadors bring His appeal to be reconciled to Him in Christ.

Like any ambassador, it is critical to the success of our mission that we communicate in an effective way.  This means learning how best to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us.  Learning the ‘language’ of those who do not yet know Him is so important. 

Even as we learn the new language, however, we never, ever change the message itself.  If our Sovereign is making His appeal through us, we cannot take or leave the parts of that appeal we don’t like.  Doing so risks the very mission itself.    

I’ve thought about this idea all week.  I am not in training to be an Office Manager.  Instead, God, for His good and perfect purposes, has allowed me to be disguised as one, in order to share His appeal. 

That doesn’t mean shirking my responsibilities in my new job!  Instead, to earn the right to speak truth, I must perform my duties with excellence. 

I am in disguise.  Not to trick or mislead, but to bring light, the True Light, into the darkness.  It changes my perspective on my work.  When I have a frustrating day, how can I still be an 'appealing' representative of my King?  How can I use who I am, where I am, to reflect Him?

If you are a Christian, you are not an office manager or store clerk or even a parent, either.  You are in disguise.  Your King has sent you out to be His ambassador.  Will you allow God to make His appeal through you?  What a responsibility… what a privilege!

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