‘How do you identify yourself?’ That was one of the questions asked by David Coffey, as he addressed the conference that some of our deacons attended with me last week. ‘If you were a stick of rock, what word/s would run through your middle?’
He spoke as someone who has held several impressive-sounding titles, including General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and President of the Baptist World Alliance, as well as several posts as a local Baptist minister. The question is equally relevant to any role or position of responsibility that we may hold, whether it is as a parent or carer, a Chief Executive or a student… ‘How do you identify yourself?’
His point was a powerful one. As Christian believers, we should not find our identity in the role or roles that we undertake or are called into. To do so leads to serving the wrong master – in his case, the Baptist Union, or the Baptist World Alliance, or a local church. ‘Whatever other title you hold,’ he said, ‘keep hold of the title ‘disciple of Jesus’. Those should be the words that ran through your middle if you were a stick of rock, because only then are you able to serve the right master.’
He quoted Jesus’ statement in Mark 12:30, about the greatest commandment being to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’, and challenged us to reflect on the fact that if we identify ourselves first and foremost as disciples of Jesus, everything else falls into its rightful place.
If we love the Lord with all our heart, we will love him with right desires.
If we love the Lord with all our soul, we will love him with the right direction.
If we love the Lord with all our mind, we will love him with right thoughts.
And if we love the Lord with all our strength, we will love him with right actions.
As we celebrate Pentecost, we remember the day when the Holy Spirit filled the early church to enable them to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. The same Holy Spirit fills God’s people today – and the branding or identity that follows is simply this: – ‘disciple of Jesus’.
So, ‘How do you identify yourself? If you were a stick of rock, what word/s would run through your middle?’
With my love and prayers