Who Do You Want To Be?

I spend a lot of time talking with students as they struggle with this one question: What do I want to be? We talk about this when they are seniors in high school and we talk about it throughout their college years. What do I want to be? Moms and dads talk about this with their children, youth pastors talk about it with the kids in the church. I know adults who have been working for years that still struggle with this question. What do I want to be?

When I go to social events one of the first questions people ask me is this: So, what do you do? I have told folks on occasion that I like to run, I enjoy spending time with my family, and I enjoy watching old movies. All I get are blank looks because that isn’t what they meant. They weren’t really asking what I do they really wanted to know my job title. We live in a world where many folks want to know your job and then assign your value based upon your job title.

May I suggest to you today that we are asking the entirely wrong question? The question isn’t what do you want to be. The real question we should all be asking is who do you want to be? Although God has wired each of us differently for a variety of professions, have you noticed that scripture doesn’t focus on professions? Scripture doesn’t focus on the what it focuses on the who. When I say it focuses on the who, I mean scripture focuses on our character…it focuses on who we should be. It focuses on who is the person that God wants us to become.

Exodus gives us the Ten Commandments as requirements for living a life filled with godly character. Job shows us how to live through suffering and emerge stronger than when we started. The book of James cautions us about what we say and the power of our words. Proverbs gives us thirty-one chapters devoted to godly character development and the list could go on and on. It sure seems like God is far more concerned about who you are than what you are.

So…next time someone asks you what you want to be or what you do, have some fun with them. Tell them you would rather talk about who you want to become…not what you do. I guarantee you the conversation will get very interesting very quickly and you just might have a chance to share the gospel in a very unique way.

I’ve Been Watching You

Recently I had finished some shopping and was walking through the parking lot to my car. I spotted a man in the parking lot moving quickly to gather shopping carts that weren’t properly placed in storage locations. It was a very cold night and this man was moving pretty quickly.

I had a chance to talk with him and told him he should be commended for gathering all these loose carts on a cold night like this. In our discussion, this man said that he had been looking out the window of the store and saw the store manager in the parking lot gathering carts. This man said that if the store manager is out here doing this work he should be too. Now here is a lesson for all of us. A lesson not just in leadership but rather in our modeling of Christianity.

I frequently run into folks who tell me that they meet people who say they are followers of Christ but their life style says something different. People don’t want to follow poor examples of Christianity. You know what? I have to agree. I see these same people. People who profess to follow Christ but have no joy in their life. They complain about everything. They lie, tell off-color jokes, manipulate to get their own way, and the list could go on. In fact, with some of these professing Christians it’s hard to tell them apart from folks who claim no allegiance to the God of the Bible.

So let me take you back to the parking lot, the shopping carts, and the power of your example. When people see you do they notice something Christ-like about you? Like the shopping cart attendant watching his manager, do others see your Christian example and say, “I want what they have.” You see, when you claim to be a follower of Christ everyone is watching. Your co-workers are watching, your friends are watching, and your family is watching. You are the example and as a popular Christian song says, “you may be the only Jesus some people ever see”.

Am I saying you need to be perfect? Of course not. Nobody is perfect. Am I saying people should see Godly character in our lives? I sure am. Remember Matthew 7:16? Here is what is says:

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.

Together let’s make sure that people recognize us as followers of Christ by the way we act. Let’s not have others watch us and just shake their heads in disappointment. Instead let’s be examples of Godly character to everyone who sees us so that others say they want the power of God in their lives too.

Developing Godly Character: Service to Others

I was sitting with my daughter this week when she picked up a magazine that came to her in the mail.  The magazine advertised a popular doll and a variety of doll accessories.  As we looked through the magazine we started closely examining some of these doll accessories.  Here are a few accessories that stood out to us from the magazine:

  • A science lab set ($36)
  • A school backpack set for dolls ($28)
  • Braces and retainer called the healthy smile set ($14)
  • Allergy free lunch for your doll ($28)

Now there are pages of accessories like this.  But as my daughter and I started talking about this we couldn’t help but wonder about spending priorities.  Why would anyone spend this kind of money on doll accessories when we have children throughout the world that can’t afford to eat? How can some people justify paying $28 for an allergy free doll lunch that will never be consumed when real children are starving?  There are many reputable organizations that can feed a child for an entire month for $10.

As we think about the elements of Godly character, I can’t help but believe that service to others must be on the list.  In my former days as a police officer, I think about kids who had little food, those who were abused, those who only dreamed about clean clothes and a clean room, and those who desperately needed a home.  I can’t help but think about the verse in Matthew 11 that says this, And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded. Certainly many children in our society need a cup of cold water and much more.

So instead of spending our money on things of this world with no eternal significance, instead of getting caught up in the advertising of the day with holidays approaching, may I suggest something different?  Serve those who really need your help. Offer your own cup of water and more to one of the least of these. Step up and make a difference in the life of a child or in the life of someone that only you can reach. Those that need help are all around us. All we need to do is look.

Trying To Develop Godly Character? How About Some Integrity?

Have you ever thought about what it means to have Godly character?  What are those characteristics that God expects us to posses as His followers? Today let’s talk about one of those characteristics…integrity. Most of us would simply call this honesty.

Let’s look at Acts, Chapter 5 and the story of Ananias and Sapphira.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the story, Ananias decided to lie to God.  He sold a piece of land, brought part of the money to the disciples, and claimed it was the full amount from the land sale.  Peter confronted Ananias on his lie and said this to Ananias, How could you do a thing like this?  You weren’t lying to us but to God.

Now here is the next sentence from this passage in the Bible, As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died.  Each of us should immediately realize the importance of not lying to God. Was there a warning not to do it again? No.  Was there a small punishment? No.  Did Ananias stop to explain his position on the issue? No.  Ananias instantly fell to the floor and died.

If you don’t yet understand the severity of lying to God, take a look at subsequent verses dealing with the wife of Ananias.  Peter confronted Sapphira about her part in the lie concerning the sale of this land.  Peter said, How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord?  The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door and they will carry you out, too.  What’s the next line in the Bible?  Here it is, Instantly, she fell to the floor and died.

How many times have you heard people say something like this, God, if you will just get me out of this situation I promise I will do (fill in the blank).  Let me say that each of us needs to be very careful about promises made to God and to others.  Ananias and Sapphira paid with their lives for lying to God.  God clearly expects integrity and honesty from his followers.

Let me challenge each of us today.  When you make a promise it is just that…a promise.  Situations don’t change your promise, people don’t change your promise, circumstances don’t change your promise.  Honor God and be a person of your word.

So, start developing a list of Godly characteristics that believers should possess.  The first characteristic for your list? Integrity.