One of the many things I always think about in the New Year, but usually don’t do is memorize Scripture. This year over on Ann Voskamp’s blog, www.aholyexperience.com, she decided to memorize three chapters of Romans and invited her blog community to join her. I wrestled with this for a few days because I didn’t want to decide to do something and then not do it because I didn’t count the cost. But how could I turn down one of my favorite authors (Paul) and one of my favorite letters (Romans)?
I quickly got to work on the first verse, because I hate being behind and I started a few days late. Here is how Paul begins, the first chapter, first verse of Romans:
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (ESV)
The more I type it (Ann recommends a GREAT site www.ScriptureTyper.com), the more I read it out loud, the more I meditate on it, I am stunned by what Paul says about himself or rather what he doesn’t say. He doesn’t introduce himself in terms of what he does. He introduces himself in terms of who he is. He tells us who he truly is at the core of his being. He doesn’t talk about how he makes money (tent maker), where he lives (homeless as far as I can tell) or where he went to school (Gamaliel School of Phariseeism). He doesn’t talk about how successful he his (how many came to the last class he taught at the synagogue) or how unsuccessful he is (how after his last class at the synagogue they beat him). He strictly focuses on his identity in relationship to Jesus.
Could I do that? Could I introduce myself to people as Kim, slave of Christ Jesus, called to equip others to study God’s word for themselves, set apart for the gospel of God? Could I say just that, nothing more, nothing less?
A few weeks ago someone I don’t know very well asked if I work. For what seemed like hours but was in fact just a few seconds I really searched for the words that would adequately express what I do. I realized though I was searching for words that would somehow justify me and my life. It didn’t seem enough in the moment to say, “I drive my kids to school, cook, clean, study and teach Bible study, and otherwise serve Jesus.”
But why not? The things I do are natural expressions of who I am. Being a wife, mother, Bible study teacher – they don’t help me climb any ladders; they don’t earn money; they don’t make me famous. But they demonstrate who I am. Why do I (or can I suppose we) think what we do gives us more worth than whose we are?
I love an author who can really drive home a point in just a few words.