I had a conversation with someone recently, and they said, “I’m sorry. I can’t remember your first name, but I know you as Jessa’s mom.” I laughed, told them my name, and it was fine they didn’t remember because that is how most people know me. When my daughter played T-ball and softball, I even had a shirt that had “Jessa’s Mom” on the back.
I am the substitute teacher for my Sunday school class, and the last time I taught, the lesson was about Mary. A particular statement caught my eye. It said, “Mary’s identity was in her calling.” It caused me to ponder if that is true for most of us. Are our identities mainly in our calling? It was certainly true for many of the Bible characters.
We know Abraham as the father of many nations, Noah as the ark builder, Moses as the leader of the Israelites, and David as a king. In the New Testament, we know the disciples, missionaries and Bible writers by their calling. Finally, we know Mary as the mother of Jesus. Had she not had this calling on her life, she would have been a simple, unknown village girl.
So, what about us? Our first calling is to salvation, where our true identity begins. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” As children of God, we are each called to certain tasks and ministries. It is not always easy to let our calling be our identity. We get caught up in wanting to make a name for ourselves instead of just resting in who we are in Christ.
Since our identity is linked to our calling and our calling to God, who we are is a direct reflection of him. If we seek to honor him, then we must strive for excellence in what he has called us to do. We also need to treat others in a way that would reflect God’s love on them. Paul puts it this way. “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
We may think our identity is not in our calling if we are not in full-time ministry. But, God has called you to use your gifts and talents to minster to others. You may be a door greeter, choir member or baby rocker. Your calling may be outside the walls of the church. You may be a hospital volunteer, a community beautifier, the neighborhood cookie baker, or somebody’s Mom. But, whatever the calling, we are to do it to the honor of the Lord.
Our identity without him is nothing. Our identity in his calling makes us valuable and worth knowing. Let our response be the same as Mary’s as we gratefully say, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” (Luke 1:46-48)
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