Several years ago, I traveled to Israel where I studied the life of Christ and the tendencies of the early church’s expansion. For some reason, when you walk where Jesus walked, your steps become clearer. When you talk with real-life shepherd boys, you begin to feel a closer bond with Moses and David. When you climb the mountains that Jesus climbed and look at the towns where he ministered, you begin to see life from a more divine angle. And when you circle up to hear a Messianic rabbi tell stories, you feel like a disciple learning from a Master. One story I was told goes like this…
An old rabbi named Akiva entered a village to collect supplies. Returning home at night, he mistakenly took the wrong road. Suddenly, a man shouted, “Who are you, and why are you here?” Not knowing if the man was talking to him, Akiva stopped, looked around, saw no one, and continued walking.
Then, once again, even louder than the first time, the man shouted, “Who are you, and why are you here?” And once again, Akiva stopped, wondered if the man was talking to him, looked around, saw no one, and continued walking.
Finally, a third time, the man shouted, “Who are you, and why are you here?” Stunned, Akiva realized he had wandered into the Roman garrison, and the voice had come from a young guard staring at him just a few feet away in the dark. In typical rabbi-fashion, he finally answered the harsh questions with another question: “How much do they pay you to stand guard and ask that question to all who approach the gate?”
The guard, realizing the man was a rabbi, put down his spear and calmly replied, “Five drachmas a week, kind sir.”
The tired rabbi humbly said, “Young man, I will double your pay if you come home with me, stand in front of my home, ask me that question each morning as I begin my day: “Who are you, and why are you here?”
What would happen to our lives if we asked God each morning these two soul-piercing questions, “Who am I, and what am I doing here?” What would happen if we expectantly waited for Him to respond? What would happen to our homes, our marriages, our churches, our communities, our country, and our world?
Sometimes, God responds through encouragement by letting us know that we are on the right path. Other times, He shifts our paradigms and leads us into living differently, thinking differently, even praying differently. He stretches our comfort zones. He extends the walls of our churches to the nations. He broadens our view of family to include people who have no family. Stretch by stretch, we begin to look more like Him and less like the person inside of us that we are trying to protect.
Ask yourself today, “Who am I, and what am I doing here?” Then, watch and join as God responds.