Don’t Waste Your Work: So What Do You Do?
What gives you your identity? Sometimes we see ourselves as Americans, or by our profession, as a physician, a pastor, a financial planner, a teacher. Nowadays, people often identify themselves by their political interests or persuasion. The Bible has a different take on how we see ourselves. Paul writes “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5: 17). This is an astounding statement. It touches every part of our being. It frames how we see ourselves and how we look at other people, our work, our relationships, our world. Paul is saying that our old ways of looking at ourselves and at others no longer apply. Our old ways of seeing people, judging them by the categories and stereotypes the world typically uses are all gone. The way we see ourselves has profoundly changed. I like how biblical scholar Mark Hopper put it, “If the love of Christ controls us, then we are free to be open and accepting of others on the basis of seeing them through the eyes of Christ, the One who gave himself for everyone. Old standards of judgment such as race, social status, wealth, prestige, and title are obsolete.”
I know people who define themselves by their past, their mistakes or conversely by their accomplishments. But of course, this gives us a limited view of who we truly are. How we see ourselves can often define how we see others. These past weeks we have been talking about work and faith. Whether you work outside the home or not, whether you are employed or volunteer, God is involved in our labor and God wants to be known through our work. For some of us, our identity is in our work itself. But Christ has claimed all of us. Christ gives us an identity that means more for us than anything we could ever do or prove on our own. We are new and renewed people in Jesus Christ. Our primary identity is in following Jesus whose love can make us a new creation at any time. Is there something in you that needs to be newly created? Paul says the “The love of Christ urges us on…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). I’m grateful we have that kind of love that keeps urging us on through all we face in life. This Sunday, we worship God who sees us for who we truly are, who sees the immense potential in us to be new creations in Jesus. The possibilities are endless!
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“We invite you to join us on a shared journey of life and faith, open to all, regardless of age, ability, economics, color, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, politics, theology or anything else that might separate us from each other. Whoever you are and wherever you may be on your spiritual journey, you’re invited to walk with Christ in community with all of God’s children, and embrace the endless possibilities of God’s unconditional love.”