In 1966, the USS WALLER, a Navy Destroyer, had a port call to Massawa, Ethiopia. Haile Selassie was still the all powerful emperor king at the time. (He was supposed to be a descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.) There had not been a United States Presence in Ethiopia for 20 years and the Captain called an “all hands on deck” event to talk to us all about our responsibilities as “representatives” of the United States of America to a generation who had never met any before. The speech was sober and solemn and was a bit threatening as well! We were warned that any infractions on shore leave would be cause for an immediate UCMJ (Captain’s Disciplinary procedure) as soon as possible. He announced the possibility of reduction in rank, loss of pay and possible brig time for any offenders. He really took our port call seriously. Most of us just wanted to get our feet on solid ground, have a good time, and just do the kinds of things sailors do after many days at sea! (I don’t want to talk about it!). The key message was “you are not tourists, you are ambassadors! Never forget that.”

Tourists often give America a bad name. Warren Wiersbe writes, “On more than one occasion, my wife and I have been embarrassed by the behavior of some American tourists overseas. We watched one group almost desecrate Westminster Abbey by their loud conversation and laughter and their total disrespect for the monuments there. We met another discourteous group on a public bus, and we cringed and almost tried to hide our citizenship as they joked about the very nation that was showing hospitality to them. Between cheap TV shows and discourteous tourists, America manages to export the worst possible image.” I’m afraid at times this is also true of Christians.

We represent our nation and our people wherever we go and whatever we do. Every believer is called to full-time Christian service in this respect. Many people will form their opinions of God and Christians by our behavior and lifestyle. We should always remember that we are ambassadors not tourists. Wiersbe concludes his comments on this by saying, “We are always representing our King, and we must be certain that he is pleased with what we say and do. Being an ambassador is not a job that goes from eight to four each day. The ambassador is always the ambassador, and he or she must behave accordingly.” As Christians we are open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! That’s more than the new Wal-Mart in Blair!

“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work…” Colossians 1:10