Tag Archives: ambassadors

Ambassadors: Dealings with Deceived People

(This is the ninth in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ)

Ambassador Grew had some very challenging situations to address during his years of representing the United States to Japan. In his diary he wrote about the frustration of dealing with people who were deceived, but didn’t realize it, and refused to believe the truth.

In the early 1930’s Japan was being very aggressive toward her neighbors (especially by invading Manchuria), and this aggression had resulted in Japan’s violation of at least three treaties – one of which they had signed, along with many other nations, just a few years prior in 1928. And yet most Japanese people refused to believe that their nation was being hostile, and instead felt they were in full compliance with all treaties. Ambassador Grew wrestled with the challenge of trying to speak truth to those with whom he interacted so that they could understand what was right and true. At one point he wrote that he knew very, very few Japanese who would be willing to say, “Yes, we’ve broken every one of those treaties by invading Manchuria, and our argument of ‘self-defense’ was a joke, but, we needed Manchuria, and that is that.” The great majority of Japanese believed that their actions were in the right, that they had not violated any treaties, that they were not starting any wars, and that their aggressive incursions were actually designed to promote and spread peace upon the earth.

Ambassador Grew wrote that dealing with someone who is deceived is much harder than dealing with someone, no matter how brazen, who will openly admit that he has done wrong.

While Ambassador Grew pointed out the challenge, he didn’t offer any specific counsel that would assist us in being ambassadors for Christ.

Jesus was our ultimate example in everything, and it is interesting to see His interactions with two types of people during His time on earth: the self-righteous and very religious Pharisees who would not admit their sin, and the “sinners” of His day (tax-collectors, fornicators, etc.) who readily acknowledged their wrong-doing. We know that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), and we see Jesus pointing out the sin in both types of people.

One type of people primarily rejected His admonitions while the other group tended to humbly accept His Words. One group fought against Him, while the other group sought to be near Him. One group tried to have Him killed, and the other group wept when He died. One group wanted to cover up His resurrection, while the other group rejoiced at the news He was alive. Through it all, one type of people vehemently proclaimed their righteousness and denied their wrongdoing, while the other group humbly acknowledged their sin, repented of it, and believed in the Savior.

Jesus patiently and lovingly worked with each group, and yet we see that it was truly much harder and there appeared to be less visible fruit when dealing with those who were deceived. First off, I would hope that none of us are in the group of people who are living a sinful (but perhaps religious) lifestyle while either refusing to acknowledge sin or being deceived into not seeing the sin (Galatians 5:13).

Next, we can realize that as we interact with others, there will be some who will readily acknowledge their sin, while others, for whatever reason, will not. The purpose of the law is to show a person his need for a Savior: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

Whether or not someone believes he has broken God’s law, our role as ambassadors is to gently seek to share truth with him: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient” (2 Timothy 2:24), so that he will be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

For us, then, the key is not to become weary in well doing. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

Let us not be surprised that there are people who have hard hearts and are unwilling to acknowledge or see their sin, and as a result are less likely to repent and believe in the Savior. That has always been the case: whether it was Jesus ministering to the proud, religious, yet sinful Pharisees of his day, or Ambassador Grew seeking to represent the United States to Japan in the early 1930’s. May we simply continue to share with everyone that the Lord brings into our lives, about Jesus, the Savior of our souls, and entrust the results to Him.

Ambassadors: Being Prepared to Give Speeches on Any Topic

(This is the eighth in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ)

Ambassador Grew spent 17 days aboard a ship traveling from the United States to Japan. While he was onboard the ship, he spent most of his time reading about Japan and preparing speeches.

Ambassador Grew shared, in several places within his journal, how very important speeches are to ambassadors. He went on to share that an ambassador should always be ready to share on a variety of topics. Such speeches don’t always come easy as evidenced by his journal entry for May 21, 1933, which was titled, “The Burdens of Speechmaking.” He had spent that entire day writing a speech that was to be given at the dedication of a new hospital. Coming up with an analogy or theme for the speech was often the most challenging part of speech preparation for Ambassador Grew. However, once he had an idea and started on it, he shared that the speech generally came together rather well.

Because Ambassador Grew had been in the Foreign Service for many years and held a number of different postings, he had developed the habit of saving the notes from his various speeches in case there was ever a need for a similar speech in the future.

The spiritual analogies seem so very obvious!

Jesus began His public ministry giving “speeches” and publicly sharing the gospel:

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

He continued speaking and teaching all throughout His ministry:

And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. (Mark 1:39)

Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. (John 18:20)

And Jesus preached and publicly shared right up until the end:

And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. (Luke 21:37)

Jesus shared how His Father’s kingdom impacted many different practical aspects of life. The gospels are filled with His teaching about: love, service, divorce, prayer, sacrifice, blessing, defilement, thought-life, enemies, discipleship, idolatry — and the list could go on and on.

Peter, one of the disciples, who spent three years with Jesus, wrote that we should always be ready to give answers when we are asked (1 Peter 3:15). Paul encouraged Timothy to be ready to preach “in season” and “out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).

What if an ambassador didn’t feel he was an ornate, naturally-gifted speaker? Would that exempt him from needing to prepare and give speeches? No. Considering that speeches are simply a part of an ambassador’s job, I think he would just have to work harder to prepare and then give those speeches!

What about us, as ambassadors for Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20)? Are we ready and willing to publicly share? If given an opportunity to speak, will we? Do we spend the necessary time to properly prepare for such sharing? What a blessing that we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us as we prepare (John 16:13), and because He is within us (John 14:17), we can rely upon Him as we share!

Anytime we are presented with an opportunity to publicly share Christ may we do so!

In Christ,

Ambassadors: The All-Important Element of Clothing

(This is the seventh in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ)

Soon after Ambassador Grew arrived in Japan, the Chinese Ambassador came to visit him. The problem was that the Chinese ambassador wore a rather formal outfit. Ambassador Grew wrote that he was stumped in relation as to what he should wear when he returned the visit to the Chinese ambassador. As Ambassador Grew was writing about his various choices and why each choice would or wouldn’t be appropriate, he wrote that clothing was “that all-important element of diplomacy.”

I wonder how often we, as ambassadors for Christ think about our clothing in relation to being His ambassador? How often would we consider it to be one of the most important elements of our representation of Christ?

Scripture is full of information relating to how we are to dress. Ambassador Grew’s concern had nothing to do with comfort, style, or convenience — his whole concern was what was appropriate and proper.

Do we think there are ever times when it would be okay for an ambassador to dress improperly in public – say for comfort, fashion, convenience, or to draw attention to one’s body? The obvious answer would be “no.”

But, what if it was just a quick errand? Or perhaps a time of exercise? Or what about doing some type of physical labor?

If an ambassador is not able to appropriately represent his country through proper clothing at a specific event, the bottom line is that the ambassador would choose not to attend or participate in the event. Anytime an ambassador steps into public, the clothes that he wears ARE a representation of his country.

The focus of these posts is simply to draw analogies, so I don’t have time to exhaustively reference every Scripture which gives insight into clothing. However, I will go ahead and list a few Scriptures you may find helpful if you were to study this area.

Importance of dressing modestly and not in a worldly fashion:

1 Timothy 2:9: In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.

The danger of being a friend with the world; clothing is a medium through which we could identify with the world:

James 4:4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

What about the principle of not defrauding others through our dress? We see that in the ten commandments we are commanded not to covet or lust after others or things, but it says nothing about us dressing in such a way that would lend itself towards another coveting us – or does it?? I find it fascinating that when Jesus was quoting some of the commandments to the rich young ruler, he expanded the application of coveting to include causing another to covet (by defrauding them):

Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

Clothing is a key part of being an ambassador. God’s instruction for us to be His Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) is yet another reminder to us that we are to dress appropriately, properly, modestly, and as His representatives! Romans 14:4-5 shares that each of us is directly accountable to God and that we must be fully persuaded that we are living as He would have us live. Which is why we are to study to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Every time we step out of our homes, may we each evaluate what we are wearing. My prayer is that our clothing would appropriately represent the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ,

Ambassadors: Quick to Follow Direction

(This is the sixth in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ and is continued from the previous posts regarding the Diplomatic League situation)

Ambassador Grew had cabled the US State Department to let them know about the situation that had developed between himself and the German Ambassador. Ambassador Grew had graciously taken a stand that he believed to be right, even though it had caused “an issue.”

To the “great surprise” of Ambassador Grew, the State Department responded that all relations of a social and ceremonial character that usually exist between members of the Diplomatic League were fine for Ambassador Grew to participate in, even with the German ambassador.

Ambassador Grew was now faced with an interesting dilemma: he had taken a stand for what he thought was right but had received guidance from his authorities that his stand was not necessary. To contact the German Ambassador and say he was now willing to sign the speech would be humbling.

What did Ambassador Grew do? He immediately contacted the German ambassador and asked to have the speech sent over because he had received direction from the State Department and was now happy to sign it.

I was absolutely amazed at Ambassador Grew’s humility. He was willing to appear to others as if he had done the “wrong thing” in a situation where his goal was genuinely to do the “right thing.” And, yes, perhaps he should have contacted the State Department for direction even sooner than he did!

Ambassador Grew knew and understood that it is more important for an Ambassador to follow the guidance/direction of the country he represents than to be concerned about his own reputation in appearing right or wrong.

What about us as ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ? How concerned are we about our reputation? If we are more concerned about our reputation than following what He has for us, we will be ineffective ambassadors.

John 12:43 talks about religious men who refused to follow Jesus because they were more concerned about their reputation: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

The Apostle Paul was the one who, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, encouraged us to be “ambassadors” for Christ. Because of Paul’s obedience to Christ, he was called “insane” when giving a defense before very learned men of the world (Acts 26:24), and he wrote to the Corinthian church, “We are fools for Christ’s sake…” (1 Corinthians 4:10).

Paul, as an ambassador for Christ, was willing to obey even when it made him appear foolish to others – are we?

Ambassadors: Quick to Seek Direction

(This is the fifth in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ, and is continued from the previous post regarding the Diplomatic League situation)

Following the situation that arose when Ambassador Grew politely declined to sign the German Ambassador’s Diplomatic League speech (due to the United States not having diplomatic relations with Germany at that time), the German Ambassador asked if they could have a meeting. The German Ambassador wanted to talk things through.

Instead of drawing upon his experience and skill as an Ambassador in order to decide the proper course of action, Ambassador Grew cabled his authorities at the State Department to seek direction.  (to be continued)

An Ambassador’s job is not to be a decision maker, but rather to follow the directions that he receives from his authorities in the country he represents.

Jesus, despite being fully God and man, spent many hours during the course of His time on earth in prayer. For example, before selecting his twelve disciples, Jesus spent the entire night in prayer! Luke 6:12-13, “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.”

All through the three years of His ministry the disciples sought Jesus’ counsel, guidance, and direction. Once, Peter sought Jesus’ counsel (Luke 22:49, “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?”) but didn’t wait for a response (John 18:10, “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.”) and was rebuked by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, ‘Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'”).

When we, as ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ, are faced with a situation do we rely upon our own wisdom to “make the call”? I know from personal experience that it seems as if the areas where I feel myself to be wise and believe I have much experience are the areas in which I don’t tend to rely upon the guidance and direction of the Lord. And in those areas where I believe myself to be weak and have little experience are the areas in which I am quick to seek His guidance. Might that be some of what Paul was referring to when he said, “for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)?

Are we, as ambassadors for Jesus, proud of our “decision-making abilities,” or do we with humble hearts continually seek His direction?

In Christ,

Ambassadors: Willing to Take a Stand for Right

(This is the fourth in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ.)

Ambassador Grew writes about an incident he had with the German Ambassador. Apparently there was some type of a diplomatic league that the various Ambassadors were all generally a part of. Different members of the League would make speeches at their gatherings. Before making a speech, it was the custom to send their speech around to the other Ambassadors for them to review and approve

When the German Ambassador sent his speech around, Ambassador Grew was faced with a dilemma. If he were to approve of the speech, he felt it would also be approving of the German country – something that he couldn’t do (the United States did not have diplomatic relations with Germany at that time). But he also knew that refusing to sign the speech would cause a “situation.”

Ambassador Grew was willing to take a stand for what was right and decided to graciously refuse to sign the speech. He included a note to the German Ambassador explaining that, due to the relations between their countries, he was not able to sign the speech, but that he hoped the German Ambassador would not take the refusal personally.

This, of course, caused a reaction of sorts from the German Ambassador, who was well aware of the situation between their countries but didn’t feel signing the League’s speech would be an approval of the German nation. He requested a meeting with Ambassador Grew… (to be continued)

What good is an Ambassador who is simply looking to be popular? What good is an Ambassador who is not willing to represent his country by standing for what is right?

Are we, as Ambassadors for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, willing to take a stand — even when it will be an unpopular one? And, are we willing to take that stand even when we know it will cause a “situation”?

Jesus warned us as His disciples that following Him would be unpopular:
John 15:18-19. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

The unpopular stands (for right) that Jesus calls us to may even involve our family or extended family. Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), shared in Matthew 10:35-37: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Are we willing to graciously and with love stand for right, or do we cave in to pressure? Because an Ambassador is expected to represent his nation even when doing so results in animosity from those he is living nearby.