Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible…I become all things to all men so that by all possible means I may save some. I Cor 9: 19-23
Jarrett Moulder has been praying for his partner to come to Christ. Although not a Christian, his anesthesia associate, Raymond, is a good, moral man who lives alone. For weeks, Raymond has been asking Jarrett to join him for a drink after work. Jarrett hates to do anything after work except get home to his family; besides, he has never enjoyed alcohol.
One of the great demands in our age of marketing, politics and computer images is our right to be authentic. We long for that in the people we befriend, and we want that for ourselves. As Sammy Davis Jr once sang, “I’ve gotta be me”.
In many ways, this desire for authenticity is God given and within God’s plan for our living out the Gospel. Our character should always reflect who we are as God’s children. Our personal faith should be evident to our patients and our colleagues. Our ethical and business discussions should be as biblically grounded as our spiritual lives.
On the other hand, as the Apostle Paul tells us, there are times when we should surrender our rights to our identity. When our rightful identity might cause another Christian to stumble in his/her faith, we should deny ourselves that authenticity. There will also be occasions when we should not choose to live out our authentic preferences but instead choose to act in an uncomfortably alien manner with the purpose of bringing God’s lost children home.
“I’ve gotta be me” is a strong ethic for the Western world, but, as Oswald Chambers put it; “The essence of sin is my claim to my right to myself.”
When is the last time I set aside my right to authenticity so that some colleague, friend or patient might come to know Christ?
Let me not live “me” to the world. Let Christ live instead. Amen