What am I living for?
We all have a certain finite number of relationship statuses in the world. If we are believers in Christ we are first of all slaves of God. All of us are sons and daughters of someone. If we are married, we are a husband or a wife. If we are parents, we are someone’s father or mother. If we have siblings we are someone’s brother or sister. And then there are the relationships that are more distant. If we have a job, we have a boss, or we are the boss, or we have teammates or staff around us. And then all of us have a relationship status of being a neighbor to a particular group of people. Finally, some of us have the happy role of being someone’s grand parent.
You can break these down a bit more, for example, if you have sons and daughters who have married you have in-laws and son’s and daughter-in-laws. For me these are just family that fall into other categories but you get the picture.
If there was an epithet that you wanted each of these groups of people to write, what would it be? I’m not going to tell you what mine would be but I will tell you the categories that are most important to me.
- First, I am a slave of God.
- Second, I am a son to my parents.
- Third, I am a husband to my wife.
- Fourth, I am a father to my children/grandchildren.
- Fifth, a brother to my siblings.
- Sixth, I am pastor of a flock.
- Seventh, I am a coworker on a team.
- Eighth, I am a neighbor to a particular set of people.
- Ninth, I am a professor and mentor to a group of church planters.
- Tenth, I am a friend to a particular set of people.
- Eleventh, I am a resident of a particular town.
- Twelfth, I am a citizen of the United States of America.
In my list the most important one is the first and the least important one is the twelfth. I love my country but I am first and foremost a slave of God and citizen of His Kingdom. I live for and by His pleasure. It is His will that rules all my other relationships.
I don’t know how you stay focused on what is important but this is one of the things I do. I have a “tombstone statement” that I would be honored to have from each of these categories. If I died today, and I could, what might each of these say about me if they had a spot to carve on a tombstone? Maybe it’s crazy but it helps me to live for more than myself. It helps me to live for the glory of God, for the expression of His will in and through my life by periodically looking at my list (I carry it around as a book mark in one of the books I am reading).
Maybe such an exercise would be helpful to you? Take some time to think about it. Write it down. Carry it around. Be that person for the glory of God. Let God shape you into a better, more Christ-centered, cross-shaped, Jesus-glorifying version of yourself.