This Fall Retreat, our theme has been LIFE.
Zach has shared about LIFE in relationship with God. Greg has shared about what that LIFE looks like. And this morning we are going to walk into the tension LIFE walks us into, the tensions between what we do and who we are.
This morning I am going to move pretty quickly. We will build some foundation through conversation. I am going to share the text found in Luke 10. And then we will not seek to resolve tension, but rather discover LIFE in the tension.
I want you to imagine with me for a moment where you are about to meet someone for the first time.
Think about all the first meetings that happen all the time: the person in front of you in line at the grocery store, all the people you pass in your car, the other people at the restaurant or coffeehouse, the people you see when you go to a sporting event or concert. Thousands of new people. These meetings probably don’t cause anxiety or fear because they aren’t really a meeting.
But then there are meetings that are a lot heavier and more nerve wracking.
Think about a moment when you are about to meet someone that makes you nervous. Who is that for you? A new boss or coworker. A teacher that you have never interacted with one on one. Your new neighbor. Someone you think is cute. A famous person. Future in-laws. A new doctor or therapist.
Maybe it is friends of friends. Maybe it is a partner’s ex. Maybe it is someone who is just like you. Maybe it is someone that is radically different than you. Maybe it is someone that only speaks a language you don’t speak. Maybe it is the person that is cleaning your hotel room. Maybe it is the neighbor that has been so disruptive. Maybe it is the neighbor that thinks you are so disruptive.
Think of someone that would cause anxiety in meeting for the first time. What are some things you want to portray to that person clearly as you meet them for the first time? Specifically that someone that makes you a little nervous to meet. What do you want them to see, notice and/or hear as they meet you for the first time? Write a few notes down.
What are some things you want to portray clearly as you meet the person that makes you nervous for the first time?
Now a moment of conversation. There’s no need to share the specifics of what you wrote. But let’s go a little deeper than that. I am going to ask you a question where there is NOT a right answer. In fact where we are going today is in the TENSION between the two.
So process this:
Did you write more about what you do--like job, education, hobbies, achievements--or did you write more about who you are--like Christian, husband, dad, passionate, caring, helpful…?
Did you write more about what you do or more about who you are? Why?
What is life? Is life what you do? Is life who you are? What is the answer?
I believe it is in the tension between the two.
We are going to get there, but before we do, we need to bring identity into the picture.
Identity formation is impacted by a variety of internal and external factors: Faith. Society. Family. Beliefs. Loved ones. Ethnicity. Race. Culture. Location. Opportunities. Media. Interests. Appearance. Self-expression. Experiences. Successes. Failures.
Look at the definition of identity: the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Think about what the Bible say about identity:
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
I could go on and on and on about our identity that is shared in Scripture. What a great study that would be. But here and now:
What has shaped your identity? Why?
Life. What is life?
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “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.”
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:1-42)
What is the tension between the Good Samaritan and Mary?
Jesus is intentional. Luke is intentional. This is all intentional. The goal is not to resolve the tension but to find life in the tension.
Life is what you do (the Good Samaritan). Life is who you are (Mary).
There is even more tension in the story of the 72 between the power of God and relationship with God.
Where are you in navigating life’s tension between doing and being?
What adjustments would help?
Take It Deeper Questions
- Read Luke 10:25-42.
- Have you ever helped a stranger? What happened?
- Would you rather host or be hosted? Why?
- Who do you identify with more, the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan, Martha, or Mary? Why?
- How can life be fully about what you do and who you are at the same time?
- How do you feel compelled to grow in who you are?
- How do you feel compelled to grow in what you do?
- How do those two answers connect with each other?
Bible Reading Plan
- Numbers 27
- Numbers 28
- Numbers 29
- John 19
- John 20
- John 21