March 11, 2013
There’s an intriguing relationship between risk and life; they rise and fall, together.
Most people live with the desire to reduce their risk experience. That seems rational… until you find out the price of risk avoidance: you cannot have rewards unless you accept the risks.
There is an ongoing assessment of risky professions. The Top Five: Fisherman, Firefighter, Airplane Pilot, Police Officer, and Logger earn the Dangerous Distinction.
Post-Benghazi, the role of American Ambassador should move up on the roster. J. Christopher Stevens was newly-installed as the Ambassador to Libya when his life was taken in the now-famous attack on the American compound. The details are still sketchy, but this much is clear: the terrorists’ beef was not with Stevens, but with America.
We’ve had some self-appointed ambassadors at work in the last few weeks. Dennis Rodman – the morals-deficient veteran of professional basketball – traveled to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Un, the next in a family line of Communist dictators over a starving and secluded population. His perspective about KJU, after his return: “I love him. The guy is awesome. He was so honest.”
Rodman was pushed out of the headlines with the death of Hugo Chavez, and the response of the respected to his passing from cancer. Chavez once suggested the appointment of Sean Penn as the American ambassador to Venezuela; Penn joined the mourners in Caracas for the funeral. His comments, sent to the Hollywood Reporter: “ Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion…”
Ambassadors are not to be taken lightly; they play a key role in establishing connections between cultures. They work for the leader of their home country; their role in their assigned foreign capitol is to protect the ex-pat citizens of their country, to support prosperity in the global economic system and to work for peace between their homeland and their assigned post.
How does one snag such a distinction? In America today, there are two routes: 1) Work your way up through the government; or, 2) Give a bunch of money to an election campaign. Route #1 leads to Benghazi; Route #2 is a straight-line to London or Paris…
Nice work, if you can get it; once appointed, you can wear the title for life. You’ll keep a tuxedo in the closet rather than renting from the mall; you’ll be playing in the top strata of society forever.
Paul understood the extreme honor of such a status. He recognized the crucial importance of the relational connection between heaven and earth; two cultures, often clashing in values and policy, but warranting an emissary to maintain the conversation between the disparate players.
The differences, and the distinction: “…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 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. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Three quick observations: 1) We have moved from the old domain to the new creation, and our citizenship is now in heaven; 2) The King of Heaven has appointed us to represent Him to our former community; and, 3) We didn’t buy the position through a big contribution to the campaign… the King made the big contribution when He reconciled us through His death and made us righteous before God – the requirement for our citizenship status in heaven.
Being an ambassador is risky business… but the risk matches the reward.