August 24, 2013

1 Kings 10:1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.

The story of the queen of Sheba is, of course, very famous, but I had never paid much attention to this first verse before. Solomon’s fame was not simply for his wisdom, but for his relation to the Name of the Lord. He honored that relationship by building the temple, but later dishonored it by idolatry with his many, many wives. This should be a strong object lesson for every Christian, because that very title means we are in relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord. We are to live so as to honor that relationship, but many do not. If we value and honor that relationship, then all sorts of benefits accrue to us, but if we dishonor it, then we are dishonoring the Lord whose Name we bear. Hebrews 6:6 describes that as crucifying Jesus all over again. Paul made a big deal of acting as Christ’s agent, His ambassador, in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. We are familiar with national ambassadors, who speak and act on behalf of the nations they represent. Whether we like it or not, the world views Christians that way, and they see our actions and words as representative of the Lord we claim to serve. That very idea should be scary! Thinking about it should drive us to our knees, in repentance for those things we know don’t represent Christ accurately, and seeking the Holy Spirit to flood through us and empower us to be like Christ.

The idea of being Christ’s ambassador has been very familiar to me from childhood, not only because I was part of a missionary family in Japan, but because during Mission Meeting every year I participated in Royal Ambassadors, a Southern Baptist organization for boys, and I memorized 2 Corinthians 5:20 at that point. I can’t say that I’ve always been a good ambassador! At this point, with over 30 years as a pastor here in Omura, Japan, my image as a representative of Christ and Christianity is firmly cemented in my persona in the city. Actually, people do come to me with what they consider hard questions, but I can’t say that I overwhelm them the way Solomon did the queen of Sheba! I am not to run from that, but neither am I to think for a moment I can handle it in my own strength and wisdom. Not only am I to trust and depend on the Lord who gives wisdom to those who ask, (James 1:5) I am to teach the believers that they are just as much ambassadors for Christ as I am, though they have trouble grasping that at this point.

Father, there is a great deal going on, as You know better than I do. Help me be an effective ambassador for Christ in it all, not thinking I can handle it on the basis of what You’ve given me in the past, but seeking fresh anointing at all times. Help me build well on the foundation You have laid in me, receiving the materials from You, so that both the process and the end result will be as You desire, accurately representing You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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