As I lay in bed looking at the ceiling, I began to get some clarity. I had just read 1 Corinthians 9 before going to bed and then it came to me through these words of Paul:
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV)
You see I was putting my focus on the first words she said, “He’s a Pastor.” I was putting my identity more in these words than the others she spoke; I was not living up to my role as Senior Pastor of Grace. I felt, at that moment, that people had to see a difference in me! I could not be a “normal Guy”. It is sad I felt that way. I mean, how wrong placed is this idea that I had to be different because I am a pastor! Yet, this is an idea that is strong in the church today. In fact, I believe that is why she felt the need to say those words. Pastors, and Christians, tend to live with a piety that distances us from others, especially those who are not connected to the church. This tends to push people away instead of allowing us to “save some.”
As secure as I am in my identity as a disciple, I had forgot my true identity as a child of God, as a disciples called to live my life in many different roles; husband, father, brother, pastor, and friend. These words actually were positive words. Words meant as a compliment. She was telling me that I was living an AUTHENTIC life. In her words it was a “normal” life. She knows that I am a Christian and that I speak openly about my faith and beliefs, yet she still calls me “cool” and “normal.” What more could we ask for in this world today? This reflects a true authentic life. A life that embraces my true identity the child God has made me to be. This results in a life that brings freedom and joy in living life as God’s unique child.
Jesus set aside the great powers and benefits of the Godhead in order to identify with us. He lived the same kind of life we live, facing temptations, suffering pain and sorrow, enduring frustration, just as we do. He modeled an authentic life; one that shows us what it means to be a “servant to all” yet not forgetting who you are. May we be empowered by the Spirit to live a life that reflects who we are as children of God that models a life of a “servant to all” in order to” win some.” May God bless you as you live as a disciple in your everyday “normal” life.