A few years back, I was representing my Camp at a Christian Youth Conference. To encourage people to stop, we usually tried to have something “fun”. In the past, we used drawings for prizes, free candy, illusions, balloon animals, and more.
This year, however, I had…nothing. Driving to the conference, I thought of – and rejected – dozens of ideas. Because this was a Christian conference, I wanted something more than “fun”; instead, I wanted to create opportunities to talk with people about God.
At that time, my wife and I were researching The Trek;
a program designed to help people figure out who God is and who they are because of Him! Since I had nothing else, I stopped at an office store, purchased letters – and candy! – and arrived at the conference.
After I set up my display,
I made a big sign that said, “Who are you?” And, because they’re youth, I posted another sign that read, “If you guess right, I’ll give you candy!” And then I stood there and waited…
In a short while, a man came by, read my sign, smiled, and came up to talk. “Hi! My name is John! Give me my candy!”
I said, “Nice to meet you, John! But your name is just what people call you. If everyone started calling you ‘Luke’, would you stop being you?”
He thought for a moment and then said, “No, I guess not…” I gave him a piece of candy for trying and he went away.
About an hour later, John came back. “I’m a Youth Pastor!” he said..
“That’s great!” I said. “But, that’s just what you do. If you got fired, would you stop being you?”
“No…” He stared at the question. “I’m from the town of…”
“So if you moved…” I began.
“Shut up!” he yelled, and he stomped away.
That weekend, I saw John a lot!
He walked by often, and other his guesses included his age (“Who are you going to be next year?”), his education (“What if your school made a mistake with your transcripts?”), his family (“What if there was a tragic accident?”), his political affiliation (“If you picked a different party…”), and even things like haircut and clothing (“So if you shopped at a different store..?”)
On the last day of the conference, John came up to me with tears in his eyes. “I know who I am,” he told me. “I found it in the Gospel of John!” And then he gave me his answer. Let me show you:
[Jesus] came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:10-12 (NLT)
Like John, many of us often try to define ourselves based on things that can – and often do – change.
And if the definition of who we are is based on something temporary, what does that say about us, about who we are, when what we based our life on is no longer there?
Instead of depending on the world around us to tell me who we are, our definition needs to be based on something…eternal. If you truly are a Child of God, you have an anchor! God doesn’t change, and because of that His definition for you won’t change, either!
So, who are you?
From all of us at The Trek, we hope you enjoy your journey!
Barry Rudesill is a Pastor, speaker, and co-creator of The Trek. (www.thetrek.org)