Author: Linda Poitras
Adapted from a lesson by Sister Ima Kilgore
Taita Hills, Kenya (1987)
Through the ages, titles given to heads of governments have changed. Leaders were once called Caesars, but today are known as presidents. Kings have been replaced by chancellors or prime ministers. However, since the days of Isaiah, the title “ambassador” has remained unchanged.
In modern governments, an ambassador is still one who holds a very prestigious position. He is a diplomat appointed to a country as a representative of his own country.
According to II Corinthians 5:20, “We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you – be reconciled to God” (The Living Bible).
What does the work of an ambassador really entail? According to a personal phone call with a lady who has served on the staff of the ambassador of one of the leading nations of the world (and a close associate with the ambassador’s family), a host of inside information was learned. Because of her unique position, she was familiar with both the official and domestic duties of ambassadors. Her insight gave information that closely resembled the Apostle Paul’s instructions to the church. (Her references to her president have been replaced with the title “King,” meaning, our King of Kings.)
Informal Instructions for an Appointed Ambassador
Philippians 4:11, 19
I Timothy 6:6-8
1) Even though an ambassador is a citizen of another country, he must establish residency in the country to which he is assigned. A home will be provided for him. It might be very comfortable, or it could be less than expected. The ambassador is to remember that his permanent residence is in the homeland; therefore, he should be content with whatever is provided for him. Assuredly, his actual needs will be supplied.
I Timothy 3:4-5, 12
II Timothy 3:15
2) An ambassador has many important duties, yet he must not neglect his family. Just as he is an extension of his King, an ambassador’s children are an extension of himself. A person appointed as an ambassador is instructed to bring his family with him for two reasons:
- He will be more content having his family with him.
- His children need his influence.
3) An ambassador must speak two languages fluently. The language of the homeland is to be spoken only in the privacy of the ambassador’s home or when he is with fellow countrymen. This is to insure that the people of his appointed country always clearly understand his words. The ambassador must insist that his children learn both languages.
I Timothy 3:7
I Corinthians 6:20
II Corinthians 7:1
I Peter 3:8-11
4) An ambassador must carefully build an honorable reputation in his adopted country. He is to live by strict guidelines, to be well-disciplined in private affairs, to have impeccable manners and to conduct himself with dignity at all times. By the actions of the ambassador, the nation in which he serves will judge the reputation and honor of his King.
II Timothy 4:1-2
5) An ambassador is expected to be friendly and congenial, but his time is not to be dominated by social events, neither is he to live as if on an extended vacation. The ambassador must never lose sight of his purpose. He is to remember that he will give an account of his actions at the end of his term.
I Peter 3:3-4
6) An ambassador must be careful concerning his appearance and the apparel he chooses, for they are to be in keeping with the dignity of his position and according to the customs of his land.
I Peter 2:12
7) An ambassador must be very careful where he goes because his arrival is usually announced. Even if not officially announced, he is easily recognized, for people soon learn who he is.
I Peter 2:13
8) An ambassador is expected to obey the laws of his assigned country; however, he has diplomatic immunity and is never required to violate his conscience, customs or traditions.
(See Chapter 1, verse 1 of all of Paul’s letters.)
9) An ambassador must have official credentials or proof of the power vested in him by his King.
II Timothy 2:15
10) An ambassador is expected to constantly improve his qualifications, capabilities and skills, and to be willing to accept added responsibilities.
11) An ambassador should stay in daily communication with his King, thereby making himself available to receive information from his homeland. The King must know where to reach him twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The ambassador should also keep his King informed of all current events of the assigned country.
II Timothy 1:13
12) An ambassador must be very6 efficient in conducting official duties, always ready to speak in behalf of his country or deliver messages of importance. He is expected to carefully study all written material sent from the homeland so that he may speak positively concerning all policies and treaties. If an ambassador seems confused, changing his opinions and varying information, he will convey an image of inconsistency and weakness in his government.
II Timothy 1:13
13) An ambassador must bear in mind that he is only a messenger. He is expected to speak the exact instructions, views, opinions and demands of his King as emphatically as if they were his own. Yet, he has no authority to make compromises. He is not to judge the King’s words as right or wrong, nor has he authority to change or delete any of the King’s instructions. It is the ambassador’s responsibility to see that there are no wrong impressions concerning his King and that the homeland is never misunderstood.
I Peter 1:6-7; 2:21; 4:12-13
14) An ambassador, although generally treated with honor and respect, may on occasion encounter insults and humiliation. Also, there may be confrontations deliberately arranged to test his abilities and skills. He may never be aware that they are merely tests, yet he must remain calm and controlled, performing with competence. He must remember that arrogance and rudeness on his part are forbidden, and that any retaliation or reprimand should come from the homeland.
Romans 8:31, 35-39
15) An ambassador’s verbal and written oath of loyalty to his country is followed by a sealed oath from his King. The King’s oath is always supported by the strength of the armed forces of the homeland; therefore, an ambassador’s safety, freedom and protection are guaranteed. He is provided a capable escort from the homeland, and should a potentially dangerous situation arise, the ambassador’s status in the homeland never changes. The full strength of his country is behind him. Every possible measure will be taken to insure the ambassador’s safety.
16) An ambassador has two special duties connected with his position:
- He must help people acquire citizenship papers.
- He must encourage tourist trade by convincing people they should visit his country.
17) An ambassador’s regular duties include protecting the citizens of his homeland who are in his assigned country. If danger is approaching, the ambassador is to:
- Keep the citizens advised.
- Help the citizens make preparations to leave at a moment’s notice.
- Make the citizens familiar with escape routes in case of an emergency.
- Assure the citizens that they will be provided with protection.
All citizens are to be treated equally. If a citizen experiences severe illness or personal tragedy or receives a prison sentence, this ambassador must regard him with the same respect and concern with which he regards a member of the King’s family.
18) An ambassador must offer complete safety inside the embassy to people in dangerous situations. The government of the assigned country has no authority over a person who remains inside the embassy and requests the protection of the ambassador’s King.
19) An ambassador’s embassy is vitally important, for there he is expected to create a pleasant atmosphere with fine furnishings from the homeland. Familiar surroundings are more conducive to efficient management of the affairs of the King. The embassy personnel should always be prepared to serve refreshments to visitors. Anyone is welcome to visit, but ironically, few come unless specifically invited.
II Timothy 4:2-5
20) An ambassador will be immediately replaced if found disloyal. It is very tragic for an ambassador to be dismissed, but his position is highly esteemed. If replaced as ambassador, one loses the respect of both the home and assigned countries. Dismissal can occur should the ambassador:
- Break the laws of his homeland.
- Be found to be dishonest or guilty of a crime.
- Create a scandal or be a source of embarrassment to his country.
- Be at constant friction with other officials from the homeland.
- Be careless with information.
- Fail to convey a message given to him.
21) An ambassador is not to become overly concerned with permanent investments in his assigned country regardless of how advantageous they may seem. He must be willing to endure personal loss or inconvenience in the interests of the homeland, having complete assurance that he will be repaid. Other experts will handle his investments in his homeland. As a final benefit, he is guaranteed an exceptional retirement.
After concluding the research of the term “ambassador,” I began to see more clearly my responsibilities in the Kingdom of God. Surely our King is searching for competent ambassadors in this hour. He needs those who will regard with seriousness this important position. My prayer is that I may accept the challenge and become a more effective Ambassador for Christ.
“A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador (Heb. – an ambassador of faithfulness) is health” (Proverbs 13:17).
“As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters” (Proverbs 25:13).
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:20).
“For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:20).