Tag Archives: ambassadors

Ambassadors: The Value of a Smile

(This is the third in a series of posts 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 wrote in his book (which is an extract from his diary) that Mrs. Woodrow Wilson visited with he and his wife Alice on October 24, 1932. The three of them spent a number of hours together. He noted that Mrs. Wilson said something important during their visit: “that a smile goes a long way in Japan.”

Ambassador Grew noted that he had also seen how important it was to smile and the impact that a smile can have. He had specifically noticed the impact his wife had when she went out for exercise and smiled at the many people she came in contact with.

I was struck by the realization that the wife of the Ambassador (who was not even the official representative) was positively representing her country while in a foreign land simply by smiling at people.

Why is a smile important for an ambassador? And what does the smile represent? I believe the smile of an ambassador represents several important things.

First, if you see someone from another country always smiling, it makes you want to learn more about the country they are from. If the country you are living in is full of depressed and angry people (yourself included), and everyone from a neighboring country that you’ve ever met are living lives overflowing with joy and peace, you will likely have a strong desire to visit (or move to) the other nation so you, too, can be joyful.

Jesus has left us with His joy and peace, and our hearts should be full!
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”
John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Second, when a person or representative from another country smiles, it projects an acceptance of you. When soldiers from two nations meet on a field of battle, they do not share smiles; you would see looks of grim determination on their faces – they are seeking to harm each other. And yet those same soldiers, if they are seeking to build relationships with the citizens of a foreign country, will smile and wave at the people they come in contact with. In such cases, the smile is a sign of good will.

Jesus specifically encouraged His followers to salute more than just friends and relatives.
Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

The Greek word translated “salute” is aspazomai, and Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary gives much greater meeting to the word: “To salute one, greet, bid welcome, wish well to; to receive joyfully. Used of those who greet one whom they meet in the way; a salutation was made not merely by a slight gesture and a few words, but generally by embracing and kissing, a journey was retarded frequently by saluting.”

Are we properly representing our heavenly kingdom by “saluting” (which would at least involve a friendly smile) those we come in contact with?

In Christ,

Ambassadors: Two Grave Dangers, along with the Solution

(This is the second in a series of posts 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.)

As Ambassador Grew was traveling via steamer toward Japan in 1932, he wrote about two dangers that face ambassadors.

The first is the danger of being prejudiced against the nation where one is being sent. “An ambassador who starts prejudiced against the country to which he is accredited might just as well pack up and go home…” Ambassador Grew pointed out that such an attitude would undermine and damage the relationship that was to be built. This underscores the importance of us, as Christians, having loving and compassionate attitudes as we interact with the lost.

Do we have a love for those we are called to be ambassadors to? I was reminded of Jesus as He interacted with the wealthy and proud young man who would not acknowledge his sin. “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him…” (Mark 10:21).

The second danger that Ambassador Grew shared about is the opposite of the first: being influenced by the foreign country! The term that he used in the book was “imbued,” which means “to permeate or influence as if by dyeing.”

I’ve thought often about how easy it is for us as Christians to be influenced by the world, but I was particularly struck to read about an ambassador being on guard against the same danger in the physical world.

While we love the people, we must be on guard against loving the things of the world. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

How could an Ambassador ever remain “in balance” — loving the people in the country to which he was posted while being on guard lest he becomes too influenced by those around him?

Ambassador Grew shared the solution: “However, I know the minds of the President, the Secretary, and the Department pretty well, and that should help to keep a straight course.”

The only way we will be able to be in the world but not of the world is to know the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2).

In Christ,

Are We Ambassadors for Christ?

One word. Mentioned twice in the New Testament. And yet living that word out will impact every aspect of our life.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 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.

For years I have been fascinated with the idea of being an ambassador for Christ. Five years ago, with a goal of wanting to learn more about ambassadors, I went to the library and checked out some books written by or about ambassadors. One book, in particular, contained a number of stories that illustrated practical aspects of being an ambassador for Christ.

I recently purchased a used copy of the book (Ten Years in Japan, by Ambassador Joseph C. Grew) and am re-reading it. As I come across some of the analogies I thought about sharing them on the blog. Perhaps as the Lord challenges me and speaks to my heart others will also be encouraged. At the very least, maybe the stories and analogies could spur worthwhile discussion for families during their meal time or Bible time.

In Christ,