This morning I was looking over some notes I made from a great book called Resilient Ministry (note – if you want to be able to care for your Pastors well this book will give valuable insight on how to do that (and, yes, generally I do feel very well cared for)). I came across this quote:
“Pastors often slip into the trap of building their identities around their roles and performance rather than being beloved children of God and co-heirs with Christ. ”
(Bob Burns et.al., Resilient Ministry, p. 32)
As I thought about just how true this is I was reminded that this is something that is not unique to Pastors. It is not even a characteristic of a small group. It is a temptation that is true of every Christian no matter who they are and what stage of life they are at. Simply, it is true of you.
Who are you? We define ourselves through relationship with others. We are sons & daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins, husbands & wives, and more. We define ourselves through our work roles (although I suspect that this is more common amongst the “professionals”). We are doctors & lawyers, stay-home parents, care-givers, retail associates, and more. We build our identity in this way. And we attach value to these roles – sometimes it’s the value that others put on it, sometimes it is the value we attribute to it. And the more important the aspect of our identity is to us, the closer that it is to the core of how we see ourselves, the more it will determine our self-worth.
We ask ourselves, ”Am I a good parent? Am I a good health professional?” And if things are going well – the patients are getting better, the profits are rolling in, the kids are happy and successful (whatever that looks like) – then we feel secure, happy, worthwhile, of value. If not, then everything “heads south”.
However, for the Christian, through the grace of God to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have an unshakeable foundation for identity and worth. – “… you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Gal 4.7 NIV11). An identity that is gifted to us, not earned. An identity unlike any other.
Rest your heart in his grace. Know who you are in him.
Pastor | Trinity Church Brighton
0432 578 460 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Day Off Fridays