Bob Tamasy: Ambassadors Of More Than Good Will

Monday, November 04, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

In October, the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan. (Can you believe, by the way, that Caroline turns 56 later this month? How time flies, at least for us Baby Boomers, who remember her as the wee little girl running around the White House when her father, John F. Kennedy, was President.)

Ambassadors have been in the news a lot lately. Debate continues over the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and 10 other people injured.

The fact ambassadors and embassies are making headlines is newsworthy in itself. Because unlike most political offices, in which those elected often seek publicity to promote their legislation and causes or to further their careers and ambitions, ambassadors aren’t there to call attention to themselves.

Typically, ambassadorships are bestowed as rewards for meritorious service, gestures of appreciation for aiding the President in some way, or a graceful transition from more rigorous public service. But ambassadors – unless you come from a famous political family or get assassinated on foreign soil – rarely generate front-page attention or lead off the evening news.

We sometimes hear about “good will ambassadors,” but the real task of the ambassador entails much more than shaking hands and smiling. The duty, simply put, is to represent someone of greater authority – like a chief executive, or a foreign state – speaking on his or her behalf. Their jobs are not to espouse and seek to advance their own agendas.

So it’s interesting to read a Bible passage describing followers of Jesus as ambassadors. “Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ. God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

We often hear people that don’t share faith in Jesus basically telling His followers to “shut up.” Talking to others about Him, they contend, is offensive, intolerant, narrow-minded, bigoted, and not nice. While nonbelievers have every right to believe – or disbelieve – as they do, followers of Christ don’t have much choice.

Imagine, for instance, Ms. Kennedy arriving in Japan and rather than properly representing U.S. interests on various issues, she elects to take opposing stances. At state dinners, instead of being a loyal, steadfast representative of the United States, she consistently badmouths our nation and undermines all diplomatic initiatives. And when given an important message to deliver, she refuses to do so. What kind of ambassador would she be?

In a similar way, the Bible declares, God has entrusted His people with an urgent message and desires for us to communicate it as faithfully and effectively as possible. This message, the same passage states, is “the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). In another passage, the apostle Paul explains, “…the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).

That’s the essence of being an ambassador – not speaking for yourself, but on behalf of the person or entity you represent. Certainly, like a foreign ambassador, those called to serve as ambassadors for Jesus need to do so with “gentleness and respect” as they’re instructed in 1 Peter 3:15. At the same time, it’s not our place to promote our own agendas, personal opinions or philosophies “in the name of Christ.” We are to speak for Him – consistent with what He’s revealed to us in the Scriptures.

But to refuse to speak – to fail to communicate God’s message at the appropriate time and setting? For the believer, that just isn’t an option.

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Bob Tamasy: Laboring For The Right Things

Since I write my blog posts a couple weeks in advance, I’m now thinking about Labor Day since that’s when this will appear. For some reason the words to the Beatles’ tune, “A Hard Day’s Night,” come to mind: “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog…. I should be sleeping like a log.” Actually, having a dog, the phrase “working like a dog” doesn’t compute ... (click for more)

Lee To Present Fall U-Church Series

Lee University’s U-Church series will offer another eclectic line-up for this fall, providing students with the opportunity to worship together in an atypical chapel format. The line-up includes Desperation Band on Sept. 14, Ballet Magnificat! on Oct. 26, and the student-led service “An Evening of Worship” on Nov. 16.  Opening the season on Sept.14 will be Desperation Band, ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library - And Response

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)