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There’s a refrain in one of the songs we sing at our church that goes like this

“I am who you say I am.”

It’s a rather simple line, but a lesson that takes a lifetime to live out. Most of us begin with:

“I am who my parents say I am”

As we get a bit older, perhaps it’s:

“I am who my friends say I am”

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or

“I am who my coach or my grades or my job or my family or…my church…says I am”

How do we live into the reality that we are who the Triune God says we are…which is, first and foremost children? Children whose worth is not measured by our parents’ approval nor our churches, nor even our families. But rather, by being loved eternally by the God of the universe. A God who gives us gifts, but most importantly, God gives us himself.

Like I said, it’s a lifelong lesson for each of us to face. We may say our identity is “in Christ alone,” but the way we live our lives shows something different:

“I am a pastor”

“I am a shepherd”

“I am a preacher”

Each of these may be true, but if they exist as our primary identity, we are setting ourselves up for failure. When I left full-time pastoral ministry in 2018, I had no idea just how much I had come to see my identity as a pastor-in a variety of ways, but perhaps most significantly, as someone who was known and respected in our small community.

It had become something I valued, but it was not something permanent. Eventually each of us will “hang up our spurs”. It will be challenging as we discover how much we had enjoyed certain aspects of being a pastor or a ministry leader.

But I wonder if this work of identity and formation can begin even now, as each of us learns what it means to rest, not in our accomplishments, but in the easy yoke of Jesus Christ.

I pray you can rest, even for a few moments, in the easy yoke of Jesus, this week,

In the powerful name of our Lord and Savior, our greatest hope,

Stu

This reflection first appeared in our weekly newsletter. To get content like this, along with our weekly selections from our library, click here.

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