Former US Ambassador to Malta and Seventh-day Adventist Kathryn Proffitt presented the devotional at the General Conference Annual Council’s first business session Sunday. Her presentation “Ambassadors of the King of Kings” contained lessons on leadership.
“My service as an ambassador for my country was the highest privilege and honor of my professional life,” Proffitt said, “but each one of you has been given a much more and infinitely greater prestigious appointment—you have been called to be ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. You're not the personal representative of an earthly president, monarch, rather you are the personal representative of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Creator and Ruler of the universe.”
Proffitt noted the rigorous process one must go through to be confirmed as an ambassador.
“In the American system, being nominated by the president of the United States is only the first step,” she said. “All high-level government appointments must also be conferred by the United States Senate to verify that the president has nominated a qualified person who is fit to serve our nation.”
She said that senate confirmation is a very daunting process where every aspect of your life is put under a microscope.
Proffitt quoted Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
Jesus also came to this Earth to serve a diplomatic mission and to show us the Father by His life and by His example, Proffitt said, and every word that Jesus spoke was from the Father.
Among other lessons, Proffitt emphasized that ambassadors solely reflect those who they represent, as the Father was visible in Jesus, and as Jesus did not speak His own words.
Given authority to represent the government, Proffitt clarified that her position was merely a delegated authority “conditioned upon . . . obedience to the rule of law and . . . unconditional support for the official policies of the United States of America . . . at the pleasure of the President.”
Proffitt said she knew if she were unfaithful to this trust, she would be immediately recalled and sent home. She affirmed Americans’ freedom of speech, but realized that as an ambassador, her personal opinions no longer mattered. She was required to faithfully articulate and fully support the policies of her government.
As an illustration, Proffitt read a portion of President Clinton’s letter of instruction to her:
“Ultimately, there can be only one U.S. policy, which I expect you and all members of your mission to follow and articulate . . . Always keep in mind that for the government and the people of the republic of Malta, you and your mission symbolize the United States of America and its values.”
She also spoke of the temptation people face trying to fit into worldly culture, even as she wanted to fit into the culture of Malta. While preparing to go to Malta, she immersed herself in Maltese geography and politics. Her friend, an American government official, asked her about her mission and if she could identify her country on the globe. She whirled a globe and quickly pointed out the Mediterranean country.
“No Kathy,” her friend said, “that is not your country. Your country is the United States of America and you must never lose sight of this fact.”
It’s very tempting to be like the world, Proffitt said, and many will argue that by assimilating the culture and values of this world, we can even be more effective in soul-winning. We should not adopt popular views that are advanced by science and culture rather than God’s Word, she continued, and instead of being politically correct, as ambassadors for the Lord, it is our sacred duty to guard against compromise whenever it conflicts with heaven’s foreign policy, and we must remain faithful to God’s policies, even if it causes ridicule with the citizens of this world.
Proffitt pointed to the Bible as the ultimate foreign policy book, which clearly outlines our duty, equipping us to teach, articulate, and support the Kingdom of Heaven’s foreign policy.
She closed by wishing God’s blessing on the assembly, as they fulfilled their sacred mission as ambassadors of the Lord.