My folks were out here visiting Steph and I between March 14th and March 22nd, and I haven’t had the chance to blog about it yet.
Let me begin by saying that my parents are amazing servants. They came out here as a vacation, and since Stephanie and I happened to also be moving to Cupertino that week, they spent the vast majority of their vacation working like dogs to help us get everything situated. I’m guessing they probably each put in 45- or 50-hour weeks for us. My dad spent countless hours fixing the old ’87 Volkswagen Jetta that I have, which I hadn’t driven since January when something happened to the electrical ground and some mechanics told me that it also had bad tie rods and suggested I not drive it if I didn’t want to put more money into it.
They helped us pack and unpack, they went to our old storage facility and brought boxes home from there, and they even went grocery shopping for us. Yes, grocery shopping. It was awesome. And it made me realize that, as a servant, I suck. I knew that before, but seeing their attitudes really drove it home.
But that’s not the point.
One evening my mom and I were talking about how one defines one’s self in Christ. It’s pretty simple to understand why believing Truth is a great way to combat Satan. If Satan can’t get you to believe a lie, he can’t get you to sin. Put another way, every sin is an action based on a lie that the sinner believes. It’s kinda straightforward.
I was proposing that certain truths are more important than others. To oversimplify for the sake of an example, the fact that the sun is a large flaming ball of gas isn’t as important as the fact that Jesus died for my sins. Again, very elementary. I’ve heard some say that one of the most important sets of truths that allow us to live as Christians is how we define ourselves, and who we believe we are. Who is Josh Lewis? How would I answer that question if someone were to ask it of me?
Now, follow me here. I’m going somewhere with this.
I could answer it with a list like this:
- My name is Josh Lewis
- I am a singer
- I am a geek
- I am a web developer
… and so on. But obviously I’m missing a lot in that list. Those are facts about me, but it seems like it’s not really me. So then people say, well, you’re not defining your identity in Christ in that list, so I try something more along those lines:
- I am a child of God
- I am loved by God
- I am a servant of the Most-high God
- Jesus died so my sins could be forgiven
- God has a plan for my life
Now I must admit, those truths are more important than the truths in the first list, but I still think I’m missing something. Here’s the point: I don’t believe it’s valid to define myself, a unique and distinct person, with non-unique facts. It doesn’t make logical sense. Yes, I’m a singer, but there are millions of those. Yes, I am a child of God, but there are millions of those. Even my name is not unique. When I pointed this out, my mom quipped, "Well, I think if you actually said ‘I’m a servant of the Most-high God’ you would be unique in having been the only person to respond that way." Which is true. But then she said something more profound: "I’ve always thought that what makes us unique is our relationships with other people."
That statement really hit home. I’m the only person who knows all the people I know. That’s truly unique. Plus, relationships are the only thing that lasts beyond the grave. All my websites, all my code, all my singing, and perhaps even my name will not last. But I believe that the relationships we have with our friends and family will last. I think when we get there, we will know each other and remember each other. That makes sense.
Although the items in the second list are important, what’s more important is the eternal permanence of the affect I can have on others. If I went off into the woods and lived my life as a hermit, all of the above truths could still be true. But I would have to hack off my relationships with others, and the affect I have on others. That, to me, is a truly useless life. Living a hermit life would be like burying your talents. Clearly not a good idea.
I just thought I would share that with you guys. It’s an interesting thought.