We love our labels. I'm a father, husband, friend, boss, teacher, doctor, etc. We all have labels that describe who we are and what we do. My question is, do we find our identity in our labels, or do our labels come from our identity?
Many people would describe Katy and I as missionaries. Depending on your definition, that may be true. However, we don't believe that the role of "missionary" is the core of our identity.
Brad Waggoner (number two guy at Lifeway) recently said on the "Ranier on Leadership" podcast: "When I first entered into the ministry environment, I heard a lot of people use labels. 'I'm called to preach' or 'I'm called to youth ministry' or 'I'm called to China', or some very clear label. I've always been very careful about that. I think we're called to availability. Now that doesn't mean there aren't labels along the way that fit, but we've got to hold on to those loosely."
When asked about our journey into the "missionary" life, I (Blake) typically respond with this statement. "God did not call us to be missionaries. He called us to be obedient."
I'm sharing this with you now for two reasons.
- I need to remind myself of this all the time. Christ is my source, and my identity must be found in Him and Him alone. Only when I rest in Him, will I be content.
- I want to challenge and encourage you to look past your labels and discover who God has created you to be. Let the labels come after that.
God has not called us to be a place label here. He has called you and me to be followers of Christ. Everything else in our lives must stem from that reality.