I recently was in a church setting with a large group of people, many of whom I did not know. There were the typical pleasantries and introductions, but one stood out more than any other. An experience I reflected on for days and weeks after. As we have all experienced, the typical introduction to a stranger goes something like this…..
“Hi, I am__________. And you are…?” you politely give your name and wait for the next question you already know is coming… “What do you do?” The socially prescribed answer relates to your chosen career or current employment situation, and typically stops there. Conversation over.
In this instance, however, I was caught off guard by the uncommon follow up question after providing my name… “who are you.” As opposed to the career related answer, i referenced my family connections. He stared at me somberly and said… “No, who are you? What are you about?” What was he asking? Who Am I simply cut to the core and was a question that I realized did not have a solid answer for.
Is it enough to say I am a christian, a father, a husband, a businessman, a friend, a …… who am I? All of the titles we bestow upon ourselves and others can be gone tomorrow and some I have already lost.
- For years my answer would have been I am a husband, but I woke up one day to a reality I never thought possible…. a divorce. I no longer maintained the title of husband. This was no longer a part of my identity.
- I am a businessman…. I have lost this title as well. I have had successful business ventures and I have had business ventures that have failed. Upon the failures, I was no longer a businessman. Another identity lost for a time.
- A Board Member or Volunteer for a specific organization or group? A member of a specific church? Does that identify who we are? It may for a moment, but again it can change tomorrow….
The titles of the world are temporary and ultimately do not define who we are. I pondered this questions for weeks, but God presented an opportunity to hear the answer to this question. I listened to a pastor I had never met address this very question. His words are ones we have often heard, but for some reason this time his words would change my life. (more to come in future post)
So, Who Am I?? and who are you??