Yesterday, Christina and I had a great lunch with a couple who have been coming out to our informal gatherings. They are Chinese-Americans who are working for the U.S. Embassy (expatriates). It was great just hanging out and getting to know each other a little bit better.
One topic of conversation that came up was with the U.S. policy about people working for the embassy. The U.S. only allows people to work at a location for only about 3-4 years maximum. Then they rotate them around to different places. The reasoning behind this philosophy is that they do not want the embassy workers to get too assimilated (or “going native” in their terminology) to the host culture.
Since the expatriates are representing U.S. interests, the U.S. government does not want people to get “comfortable” or “become” like the nationals therefore they had to implement this boundary. When I heard this, I realized there is some value in their thinking. Since they are representing the U.S. government and their interest abroad, they need to make sure that they do not compromise on the mission. They have to be centered on the interests of the United States in order to do their job, therefore there is some significance in what they require.
Then this got me thinking.
It is kind of interesting that for a person who is a Christ’s follower and trying to do missions in a foreign country, the need for assimilation and “going native” is probably more advantageous. In fact, if a Christ’s follower is trying follow in the footsteps of his Savior, they must consider the example of Christ. Christ came into “our” world and became like us – a human being. He identified with us in our humanness, but yet did not sin. Christ became incarnational in order to demonstrate God’s love to us.
Just as Christ was sent by the Father, we are now sent by Christ (Jn 20:21). We are sent with a mission and we are trying to promote the interest of the Kingdom of God. This requires us to be in the world but not of it (1 Pe 2:11).