Summary: Understanding our Identity
[We Are the Children of God]
Welcome to the mission of God. You are a part of his family and a part of his kingdom. He has designed you, created you and called you to advance his kingdom on earth. You are, above all else, his child. This is the part where you put this book down and just think about that. On second thought, books are for reading and since you purchased this, I suppose it’s up to me to keep writing.
I am a somewhat new graduate of seminary so I’ve read and heard a million stories about everything so I can’t really even tell you where I heard this but I think it’s important to share. The story involves a pastor who was called to speak at a conference. While he had a decent sized church, the conference had other pastors who had much larger and more, shall we say successful churches than he did. So, needless to say, he was a bit nervous about the whole thing.
For weeks leading up to the event, he poured himself out as he prepared to have the most amazing sermon he had ever preached. He imagined what the scene would look like as well. He would stand up on stage, deliver an awe inspiring message and the crowd would go wild. So, as a pastor, he knew that he needed to put in a lot of time and energy for that kind of an outcome.
The problem was though that the line-up was rather difficult to follow and some of the other speakers were more established than he was. He knew he had his work cut out for him. He sat there on the first night and listened to that night’s speaker who delivered a great message. During that message, reality spilled into his world and he realized he was in way over his head. He began to second guess himself and he began to think about how poor his message was. He began to think about the negative aspects of the reception which he believed would be inevitable when he spoke. He realized that his dream of delivering a great message and having the crowd go wild as he delivered the message was slipping away.
The next night he arrived and he was more nervous than ever. All he could do was think about how he wasn’t going to be able to pull through. As much as he wanted to be great, he knew he wouldn’t be. Following the worship music, the host of the event introduced this pastor and he slowly walked up the steps, took the stage and drank a slip of water. In the midst of his fear and his self- realization that he wasn’t going to be any good, he heard a still small voice whisper into his ear, “You don’t need to worry about having a great message. You just need to be my son!” With that, the preacher let go of everything else and concentrated on being God’s child.
I want to be up front and honest that this story hit me. I am just like that preacher I heard about while going through seminary. I’ve survived the college and seminary years by serving in small churches and while I dream of making it big, it seems that reality shows me, again and again; my platform has always been smaller than I thought it would be.
When I preach the Word of God, I envision myself of speaking with such great conviction and getting the crowd up off their feet and clapping. I picture myself being adored by the crowd and awed by my mere presence. Without fail, every time I stand behind the pulpit and open the Bible, I begin to second guess my abilities to preach and sometimes I find myself lost up there, wondering what to say next. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are God’s children first.
I love to work, do you? I mean, I don’t like to think that really but in the end, I really do love to work. Doing something is better in my mind than sitting around doing nothing. Sitting around is being lazy, isn’t it? So, I carry the same mindset when it comes to Christianity and following Jesus. While I don’t want to make this out to be an attack on “Religion” but the truth of the matter is that I love working rather than resting. You see, I like writing sermons, I like preparing worship songs for church, I like thinking about and thinking through sermon series, I like getting things ready for church and making sure everything is all set for church. But often times, in the pursuit of excellence for Christ, I can forget that I need to rest in Christ. I need to remember I am his child; I am loved, forgiven and accepted just as I am by a holy and perfect God.