Story of the Day for Wednesday April 18, 2012
Willing to Bow
I am free, but I make myself a servant of everyone, in order that I might win more.
1 Corinthians 9:19
When he died in October of 2001, his funeral brought together politicians from both sides of the aisle. Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton sat next to Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Ted Kennedy attended along with Jesse Helms. He was loved by both Democrats and Republicans alike because, though he served as Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in history, though he was one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, he always treated everyone with kindness. He was a servant.
In April 1981, Mansfield was serving as Ambassador to Japan, under Ronald Reagan. A U.S. nuclear submarine, the USS George Washington accidentally rammed a Japanese freighter, the Nissho Maru. To make matters worse, the American vessel did not stay on the scene to attend to the dead and wounded, but disappeared.
The submarine was under orders not to disclose its location, but this act created outrage among the Japanese.
Mansfield was in the center of the controversy. He demanded a full report from the U.S. .Navy, and delivered it, in person, to Japan’s Foreign Minister, Sunao Sonoda.
As Charles Ferris recounted the incident, he said that Mansfield requested the cameras remain on him after their greeting. This was an odd request because Mansfield never enjoyed being in the limelight. But he knew what he was doing.
As the cameras were allowed to remain on, Mansfield bowed deeply from the waist before giving the report to the Foreign Minister. He knew Japanese culture well. A deep bow expresses the depth and sincerity of an apology.
Mansfield’s biographer, Don Oberdorfer writes, “That five seconds was played and replayed on Japan’s TV stations many times over . . .” The political issue was defused by a public act of regret and humility.
The apostle Paul was a free man. Yet, he used his freedom to become a servant to everyone. He didn’t have to position himself below others, but he chose to because he wanted others to know the life of Christ.
What do you think?Do non-Christians today feel as if the Christians they know all stoop down to serve them? Or do they feel as if they’re being hammered by churchgoers who loom over them and swing the Truth like a weapon?
The Japanese still speak fondly of Mansfield. Before he died he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun – the highest honor Japan can bestow on a civilian.
They never forgot the man who was willing to bow.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)