I’m very happy with this book by Peter Jordan. It is really helping me put this whole process of re-entry into perspective. It’s helping me to think about where I’ve been and how to use what I’ve learned to move forward. This next bit really hit me as I can definitely relate to the whole business of performing to please others.
Where does your identity lie?
In Luke 10, we read how Jesus sent 72 people in pairs to go ahead of Him and declare His coming. Before He sent them out, He commissioned them to heal the sick and declare to people that the kingdom of God is coming.
These 72 people came back from their mission buzzing with excitement about all God had done through them. People had been healed, demons had been cast out, and they had openly and publicly declared the coming of the kingdom of God in all the villages they visited. It was heady stuff for these supposedly unlearned disciples.
When they met Jesus upon their return, everyone spoke at once, each person trying to outdo the other in sharing their fantastic exploits. “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name,” one of them shouted as he came within earshot of Jesus. Jesus waited patiently for them to be quiet before He spoke. “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:17-20)
No one spoke. Wasn’t He pleased with what they had done? Yes, I think He was. It was their first venture and many wonderful things had been accomplished. Jesus wasn’t negating that in any way. But He recognized that they were attempting to derive their identity from what they had done, so He moved to address that issue. He indicated that their identity came not from what they had done, but from the fact that their names were written in heaven. Or put more simply, their identity should come from who they were (children of God), and not from what they had done.
We’re all like this at times. We list the things we have accomplished for God as though they were our credentials; as though our identity were dependent upon people recognizing what we have done. But the only credential that is important in the kingdom of God is that our names are written in heaven. We are sons and daughters of God. Whether we were missionaries or not has nothing to do with how God views us. He may be pleased with our diligent service, but that doesn’t elevate us to the status of a privileged child. He is an impartial God and loves all His children equally.
Learn to derive your identity from the fact that you are a child of God, not from the fact that you are a missionary.
I needed that. I am a child of God. I didn’t lose my identity, yet I felt like I had.
I want you all to know that no matter how disappointed, sad, or angry I am about the way things occurred, I whole heartedly believe in the mission of Mercy Ships! People are people. I’ve never been good at handling conflict, but that is no reflection on the mission of Mercy ships. What they offer, hope and healing for the forgotten poor, is so much more important than my hurt pride! God loves the people of Africa more than any one of us ever could. He is at work in bringing eternal life to those whom He’s chosen. And He uses Mercy Ships as a tool in His hand for His purposes.
This book is helping me see my journey is far from over. I thank God for His unfailing love for me, a sinner.