Probably once a week I get THE question, “What do you do?”
I don’t have a business card or a title or a clear-cut job description so I stutter a lot when answering. Some of you can relate. Others are reading this and feeling huge relief that they can’t relate.
Monday I wrote about how sometimes we can feel reduced to “names” and “numbers”, and other times we cling to our names and numbers like a life jacket that’s the only thing keeping us safe.
As much as we try to major on living out of our identity in Christ, that can be about as easy as feeling comfortable on a blind date. So I’ve been thinking about others who may have struggled with this issue.
Thinking about when Moses was in the desert, kicked out of the palace, living in obscurity…
When David was tending sheep, the go-fer younger brother…
When Jonah was in the whale, or when Joseph was in the pit…
When Hagar was excluded,
When Ruth followed Naomi, widows without a future…
They didn’t have “names” or “numbers”. And it may have been very difficult for them to remind themselves that they were beloved children of God.
But what they did have…what they remembered, was that they had choices.
The choice to say “Yes” to God.
“Yes” to finding their place with God when the world didn’t seem to have a place for them.
Blah, blah, blah, UGH!! This sounds so neat and clean. A little sermonette. But really hard to live into!
Could I just jump over this part, Lord?
We resist the discipline of saying yes, but when we do, I trust that four things can happen:
1. We’ll find joy in the present. As John was reading a draft of this he said, “I can’t believe David didn’t savor a good lamb dinner under a beautiful night sky, or that Moses didn’t make a game of throwing rocks at a particular target in the sand even though they were in desert situations.” When we say “yes” to God we can relax and live into the simple pleasure of now.
2. We’ll be prepared for something else. David, when he fought Goliath, pointed to all the times he had been in training, fighting off bears and lions, protecting his sheep in obscurity.
3. We’ll get perspective. We can reframe our role in the economy of God.
Like Peggy Campolo, a mom, raising her kids at home while her husband traveled the world becoming famous, who was asked by a woman in a condescending tone, “And, dear what is it that you do?”
She responded, “I am nurturing two Homo Sapiens into the dominant value of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments of social transformation preparing them for the eschatological utopia which God has envisioned from the beginning of time. What do you do?”
I say “You go girl!”
4. We’ll be perfected…formed into greater Christ-likeness. Ahhh I hate this part too. The molding and shaping in humility, dependence, submission, faith, servanthood that comes so slowly over time in hard and obscure “sheep-tending” times is not glamorous or comfortable, but it’s part of the deal if we really mean what we say about being disciples.
So today, I’m praying through each of these. What about you?
What have you found helpful in getting past the dreaded “What do you do?” question and living out of your value in Christ?