Tomorrow I have been invited to be the guest speaker for a women’s conference in Cullman County. The topic was already chosen before they contacted me — “Being an Ambassador for Christ.” I’m glad. If I’d been left to my own to choose a theme, I might have gone in a different direction. But, this theme has given me focused time for study, deep thought and questioning. I have learned much in the weeks I’ve had to prepare. Today’s post represents a small part of what I hope to share tomorrow. Please pray for me to speak words that will resonate with the ladies who attend.
Ephesians 6:19-20 – “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
2 Corinthians 5:20 – “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
The Apostle Paul used that specific term twice in his New Testament letters.
What IS an ambassador? According to the Google dictionary, an ambassador is “an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country” or “a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” Clearly, we are to be Christ’s representatives in an unsaved world. We are to promote His kingdom agenda and behave the way Jesus would if He were still in bodily form here on earth.
There is much I have to share about the work of an ambassador, but my thoughts went further to what an embassy is and how it functions. An embassy (again according to Google) is the “official residence or office of an ambassador.” It is often where the representatives of one country live, interact and mediate disputes with the host country. It serves as a safe haven for citizens of its country who might be living in the host country. Perhaps they have lost their passports. The embassy would be where expatriates would find a way to get back home.
It stands to reason then that our homes, in addition to just our physical bodies, are places to represent Christ to the world AND help fellow Christians who have “lost their way” to get back home.
I recently found a book that speaks to that very subject. It is one I highly recommend — THE SIMPLEST WAY TO CHANGE THE WORLD: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life, by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements.
Here are some quotes that jumped out at me:
“. . . the world could use more ordinary Christians opening their ordinary lives so others can see what life in light of the gospel looks like. And what better place to watch Christians than in their homes?”
“Any time we practice hospitality we follow in the steps of our lavishly hospitable God. Here’s the potentially scary part: because of our role in representing God to the world, when we DON’T walk in hospitality, we do not tell the truth about God. When we are cold, separated, and distant from those around us, we communicate that God is cold, separated, and distant. When we are warm, loving, and gracious, we put the gospel on display. This type of hospitality, which testifies to the character of our God, has always been a hallmark of God’s people.”
And, just for the record, one of the authors is an introvert and so is his wife. He spends a good bit of time talking about ways that introverts can practice hospitality. “Please don’t let your personality type be a barrier to living out a God-ordained calling that is actually tailor-made to suit your personality type.” Intriguing, right?
Here are some questions posed by the book that I’ve wrestled with recently:
- How do you view your home? Are you more prone to view it as a place of retreat or as a weapon for the gospel? Why?
- What does your current lifestyle communicate about God’s character? If you are a Christian, imagine yourself as a walking billboard for the gospel. What are you saying to the world?
- How does your view of mission and hospitality change with the knowledge that God goes before you, lives inside you, and accomplishes the work for you? How should these truths encourage and motivate you?
My conclusion? Anyone who is a follower of Christ is an ambassador, and that makes his/her home an embassy — no matter its size.
Get the book. You’ll be forced to confront how God wants YOU to practice hospitality. It’s easy to open our homes to those we love. What about others who need a glimpse of Christianity that we can provide?