Isaiah 43:1 - But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine."
"Hi, I'm Dale Kreienkamp, head of human resources for ..." Very often, that's how I would introduce myself. My introduction identified me with what I did for a living. But how about now, when I don't have a job? Who am I today?
It's a question I searched for answers to. When I tell people I'm in between jobs, the reactions vary. For many, it's like telling them you have cancer. They don't know what to say, and they certainly don't want it to happen to them. For some, it kills the conversation. Most, however, are sympathetic. They want to help; they just don't know how.
Often it was me putting others at ease, assuring them everything would be okay. It gave me a chance to share my faith, telling them that I believed God had a great plan for me. During this out-of-work journey, I realized that much of me had been wrapped up in what I did and who I worked for, neither of which are the most important things in life.
In Sheila Walsh's book, Life Is Tough, But God Is Faithful, she talks about how a growth on her vocal cord required her to cancel a concert tour. She faced the possibility of an operation and never singing again. It was tough, and she spent hours in prayer, but what she revealed about this experience was what I most needed to hear. She writes, "I got the distinct impression that God was saying, 'Sheila, don't you understand that I love you because of who you are and not for what you do? Your security has been all wrapped up in thinking of yourself as Sheila Walsh the singer, the evangelist, the speaker, the person who goes out there and does it all for Me. But that's not why I love you. If you never sing another note, it will not matter to Me. I don't need you to do things for Me. I just really love you.'"
That is so perfectly said.
One of my favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 2:8-10, which reads, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Our identity is not found in what we do, but in what God has done for us. It's about God's grace, not what we do, and that can be hard to accept. We are God's handiwork. In return, whatever we do is done in thankful response to His love.
Take this time to let God love you for who you are, not for what you did in your old job or what you will do in your next. It's not who you are; it's whose you are.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we take great pains to define who we are in this world. Remind us that we are Yours because of Jesus -- and that is enough. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dale Kreienkamp. It is from his book, How Long, O Lord, How Long?: Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them.
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