In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul says “We’re ambassadors for Christ…” What does it mean to be an “ambassador”?

Ambassadors are diplomats, representatives of their country to the people and dignitaries of another country. They use their communication and problem solving skills, combined with their charm and personalities to build relationships between their native land and the people of other nations. They put their focus on those they’re trying to communicate with. Their thoughts are on getting the message across as clearly as possible because they represent the entire nation.

Ambassadors soothe ruffled feathers. They patiently explain their country’s viewpoint. They place their own interests and wants lower on their list of priorities.

When we’re baptized, we’re marked “as God’s own” and as we grow in our relationship with Him, we focus not just on believing but on behaving. It’s our actions that demonstrate what we truly believe and what our true priorities are.

What then does it mean to be an “ambassador for Christ”?

Speaking kindly of others. In the office there are many opportunities to talk about other people. When we’re discussing who should be assigned to a specific project we discuss the skills individuals possess. We share our views on the quality of others work performance and on their potential for growth and development. We can speak honestly about another person’s performance by striving to use clear, unemotional language that talks about the work and its results rather than labeling someone. For example, stating “Tom’s last 3 reports have each contained an average of 5 mathematical mistakes” is a statement of performance based on fact; whereas “Tom is lazy and always hands in reports full of errors” is a statement that judges and labels Tom. “Lazy” is a value judgment. Maybe Tom is making mistakes because he’s having vision problems.

Demonstrating Patience. Never before have so many generations been in the workforce at the same time. This has created special communication problems as we bring our preconceived notions with us to work about others in an age group. We may be asked to share our knowledge with another employee who’s new to the organization, to the department, or to the general area we work in. Teaching others has its own set of challenges and our pride can get in the way of doing it effectively. We can become impatient when we believe someone should be catching on faster than they are. Yet each of us learns and processes information in a different way. Before teaching someone a new task take time to learn about them and what knowledge they already have. Helping them connect new information to old information can speed up their learning and will make them more receptive to learning from you.

Thinking before acting. If we’re truly ambassadors for Christ on Earth then we take the time to get all the information we need before responding to a problem. Take the example of Tom. Yelling at him won’t do any good, and your working to fix his errors doesn’t make things any better. Simply giving Tom the facts, showing him his errors, and saying something like “Tom, your last 3 reports have each contained an average of 5 mathematical mistakes. That’s just not like you. Can you explain what happened with them and what steps you can take to minimize or eliminate errors in the future?” The point is to get error free reports, not to make Tom feel badly about his reports.

Forgiving and moving on. There’s an old story about a priest who’s visited by someone claiming to be an angel. The priest refuses to believe the person and says “If you’re an angel, ask God to tell you what sins I confessed to Him last week.” And the angel replies “God says He doesn’t remember.” And that’s the true beauty of His love for us. Our sins are erased. They’re gone. In God’s eyes they didn’t happen. Each time we’re forgiven we receive a clean slate. When a person makes a mistake at work and asks for forgiveness do we truly forgive and allow the person to move on in their work and in their professional life, or do we hold that mistake over their head and continue to punish them by withholding projects and opportunities?

Those four assignments may be our biggest challenges in representing Christ in the office. We’re human and we wrestle with the imperfections of humans: pride, impatience, and anger to name a few. Yet we’re called to be “ambassadors for Christ” 24-hours a day, every day.

Will you accept your role as Christ's ambassador? Will you be recognized as His own, communicating his philosophy and message of love to the rest of the world, including those you work with every single day?

Author's Bio: 

Winnie Anderson publishes The Mustard Seed, a twice-monthly ezine that shares information and tips to connect your faith to your work life. Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus calls her ebook "...provocative and reflective." Get a fr*ee chapter to her ebook, Faith From 9 to 5: How to Overcome the Seven Deadly Sins and Live Your Faith at Work when you subscribe to The Mustard Seed.