Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Where's your country?

The story goes that years ago, when Henry Kissinger was serving as the Secretary of State, he used to call all newly appointed ambassadors into his office. Once they were seated he would tell them, “Before we send you out on assignment, I have one final test you need to take.” Then he would point to a globe and say, “Using that globe over there, show me your country.” Almost invariably, the new ambassador would point to the nation they were going to move to, perhaps Cameroon, or Ireland, or Australia, or even, back in those days, the Soviet Union. At which point Kissinger would turn to them and say, “I’m sorry to tell you that you have just failed.” Then he would walk over to the globe, spin it around, and pointing to the United States, Kissinger would say, “This is your country. Never forget that.” After that, they were dismissed to their new post.

You know, I think that little test displays a lot of wisdom. Kissinger knew that a long time of living in a foreign land can diminish your loyalties to your home country. You can get sucked into the culture of the place you are living and pick up its attitudes, prejudices, morals, and ways as you make contacts and friends among the local people. And all of that diminishes your ability to remember which country it is that you are supposed to represent. And all too often, it happens that an ambassador begins to represent his host country to his home country. So an ambassador can’t ever become confused about which country is his.

And you know what? A lot of Christians have the same tendency. The longer we live in a world that’s not our home, the easier it is "go native" and begin to reflect the attitudes, morals, and ways of the place we are living in and to forget which country is our home.
…they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better countrya heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. – Hebrews 11:13c-16

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