The past four months have been very difficult for me. Easter Sunday was the first Easter since 1976 I haven’t been serving a church or parachurch ministry for Easter. I have been in transition after 16 1/2 years as Senior Minister of North Orange Christian Church to…what? I am not currently serving a local church, and have found that most churches are not in a hurry to hire a 63 year old. I have started a non profit ministry, The Essential Faith Project (more to come later this week on this ministry), but we are still so focused on the administrative details of getting started and gaining 501c3 status with the IRS that I haven’t been able to really focus on the work of the project.
And then there’s selling our home and moving into a small apt. temporarily–a week of very demanding physical work I would not have survived without the help of a few good friends from North Orange!
Now we are making plans to move to Texas (it is a lot cheaper to live there, and it is one of two places our grandkids live), so we’ll be going through the transition for at least another month.
Throughout this process I have wrestled with a question. Who am I?
For over 44 years my answer would have been: I am a minister. And I still am.
We tend to draw our identity from what we do. I still serve the Lord, but I’m not teaching, preaching, counseling–even the administrative work I’ve done for all these years. So I keep coming back to that question. Who am I?
Now, if someone came to me for counseling with this issue, my response would be predictable–and right on target. We are who the Lord says we are–and how we feel doesn’t change that. I know I am Christian. I am husband, father, grand-father. I am servant of the King.
I just don’t feel that way, because I’m not currently able to DO what I am used to doing.
The Essential Faith Project is all about assisting the church (congregations and individuals) in strengthening their discipleship. I KNOW I AM HIS DISCIPLE.
So here is a lesson I suspect many of us need to learn. Or re-learn. Or re-re-learn.
If we belong to Jesus, we are His. We are disciples. We are children of the Father. We belong to Him and we live in Him as a branch lives in the trunk of the tree.
It helps to feel it. But it isn’t necessary. We need to BE who He says we are. Feelings will follow. If you belong to Jesus you are His, a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. A servant of the King. Live that truth. Feelings will follow.