This past Sunday we discussed Identity and Purpose. Our subject title was “Who Are You – Really?” This to me means that we all have both an Identity and a Purpose designated by God. Let’s dive into this a little further…
As Christians, we should realize that we all have value to God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:29-31 that a bird as common as a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without God knowing about it, and that we as his children have a lot more value than a sparrow. What does this boil down to? For me, it makes me think about a parking space – yes, a parking space. Not very spiritual sounding, is it?
For me, because I know God cares about the seemingly mundane things in my life, I figure I can trust him to provide a parking spot for me when I’m out running errands. If the very hairs on my head are numbered as Jesus said, God would care about something this small as well. So, off I go looking for God to provide a parking spot in a crowded lot. Now I can’t say my success rate is 100% (gotta stay humble), but God comes through more often than not. As I learn to trust Him for little things, my faith will grow to trust him for bigger things. Because I matter to God, I can believe that he will provide for me. I identify as His child.
As a man, it seems that I am “hard wired” by God to strongly identify and connect with what I do for a living. I think that’s why when we meet a man for the first time and we’re striking up a conversation, “What do you do?” is one of the first things out of our mouths. I believe our Creator gave us this strong connection with work so that we would provide for our families. We as men struggle against having too strong of an identification with our jobs and letting other priorities such as spouse, family (and God) become a distant second.
I believe this is why some professional athletes struggle when their careers end due to injury or retirement. If your identity is built around the fame, money, adulation and camaraderie that come from pro sports, you can be like a rudderless ship when it all ends. I’ve also noted that some people with everyday jobs often are dead within a few years of retirement because their identity has been too focused on the job.
As a child of God, I have an assignment from God to fulfill that gives me Identity and Purpose outside of any job. My assignment also gives me an Identity and Purpose independent of any circumstances that come along – wealth, poverty, sickness, conflict on the home front, struggles with sin – whatever.
My focus is on “laying hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me” (Phil 3:12). That’s why I ask myself periodically, “Who Are You – Really?”