I recently heard a portion of a conversation. A man named John went to a hospital to visit a bed-ridden, dying man. The name of the man in bed was Tom. (The names have been changed.)
In the early portion of the visit, Tom perceived that his visitor was troubled concerning his vocation. Not wanting to be nosey or pushy, the dying man realized, however, that John was the one who needed to be encouraged. Also, Tom noticed that John was an up-front, forthright kind of man, so Tom jumped right in. As close as I can recall, here is what I heard.
“John, who are you?”
That took John off guard. “Uh, I’m a basketball coach. Why do you ask?”
“If basketball went away, who would you be?”
John thought about it, then mentioned his other vocations, adding that he is a father, a lay-leader at church, and ….”
“John, you’re missing the point of my question. All those things are what you do or have done, and every one of those things will someday not be so any longer. I’m asking you one simple question. WHO are you? If you became an invalid, as I am, who would you be?”
John is like most of us – he never thought of that before. But Tom wasn’t through. He had one more question.
“My friend, here’s how you can figure out who you are. When you die, as I will soon, you will be none of those things you mentioned. As you enter heaven, none of those titles, jobs, and positions you filled will be part of you. None of your importance, influence, prestige, reputation, or money will go with you. Who will you be then? Think about it, John. Who are you?”
John left the hospital perplexed, and that question began rolling around the corridors of my mind. Who am I? I’ll come back to that in a minute.
Dear reader, you and I could spend several days or weeks trying to impress each other about our jobs, our accomplishments, how we’ve changed our company, church, or society. We also have a culturally imbedded idea that what we do is who we are. I am the president of this. I’m the CEO of that. I started this company. I am a pastor. I’m the chief mechanic over this operation. On and on we could go because we strongly identify with what we do.
But is any of that who we are? If we sleep in a garage, does that make us a car?
Bed-ridden, dying Tom was pointing to eternal reality. When all the temporary things in life vanish, when we breath our last, the eternal question is: who will we be? If we can answer that question, we’ll know who we are.
So, who am I? I’ve learned not to tell folks about my accomplishments because it could be considered a matter of pride. Even while I was a pastor, I truthfully said that I didn’t have a ministry. Why? The Ministry belongs to God, and He graciously allowed me to be a part of what He was doing.
Who am I? I am a King’s Kid. I am an adopted son of the Living, Loving, Eternal, Creative, Almighty God. That’s who I am. And I’ll be that forever.
I remember a 1796 song written by Charlotte Elliott. The first verse is: “Just as I am without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
I asked the Lord to accept me into His family when I was five years old, and I’ve never turned my back on Jesus. Do I sin? Yes, but when I realize it, I ask the Lord to forgive me. And He does. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Today, I listened to a 1992 song written by Mosie Lister. In addition to being a song-writer, he was a great pianist. The words to the chorus are, “Beyond the Cross is a tomb that is empty, you won’t find Me there anymore. And beyond the tomb is life ever-lasting, and hope forever more.”
Jesus died for us, but He raised back to life three days later. He is alive, and I’ll be alive with Him forever. Who am I? I am an adopted son of God!
Friend, who are you?