Who do you think you are?!?
In applying the story for July, one of the fundamental questions I needed to wrestle with was one of identity. When meeting someone for the first time, what is one of the first "getting to know you" questions we exchange? For many, it's "What do you do?" We generally follow with an answer about our occupation, some discussion of the place we're employed, the nature of our work, and a description of our approach to that job. In those few sentences, we hope to provide a thumbnail sketch of who we are (or at least how we want to portray ourselves) - educationally, economically, relationally, and responsibility-wise. If my job is important enough, or noble enough, or lucrative enough, or meaningful enough, or requires a high degree of skill in a respected field, then I've made a good first impression and the relationship is off on the right foot.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. -1 Timothy 5:8
Before October 2015, much of my identity was wrapped up in that thumbnail. I considered myself a good provider, a competent manager, a loyal employee, a man of integrity, a faithful husband, a loving father, and a Christ-follower. My career played heavily into that persona. And those were all things I was supposed to be about, right? Conversely, a man completely dependent on God, all the way down to my daily bread? That description would not have applied to me in the least. For some period of time after October 2015, the thought of introducing myself to someone new made me nauseous. It's tough to impress someone when the answer to "What do you do?" is a mumbled response of, "Well, I... see it's like this... I used to be... so I'm kinda between... it's complicated...."
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. -1 Timothy 6:17
I never did come up with a satisfactory answer to the question. Over time, the Spirit convinced me I didn't need to. The identity I had lost was to be found in Him. He is the life-force that sustains me. If my mind is right, the best answer might be, "I'm a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and my ministry is currently funded by (fill-in-the-blank)."
I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant. Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth.... -Joshua 24:13-14
Look, I'm not saying that work is wrong. I invest a lot of time and energy into doing my job well, and God uses that to grow me and bless others. My problem was misplaced security and misplaced credit. I'll close with a song that describes the struggle of doing everything we're supposed to do, job-wise, only to wake up and wonder if it's enough to define us. It isn't. But He is. The song is performed by the Show Ponies, a band whose lead singer was Clay Chaney. The music is good and the lyrics will make you think. As a point of reference, Clay's dad, Carey Chaney, is one of our Convoy brothers. Enjoy....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKkRWJFP_A4