Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I’ve been wandering all week attached to a little magnetized card that identifies me as a guest in a Portland area hotel. It lets me in the building. It lets me in my room. It lets me in the hot tub room and the work out room. It is my lifeline into my home away from home this week. This morning, the magnetized part of my card failed. I lost my identity somewhere in between my complimentary continental breakfast and brushing my teeth. It really wasn’t that big of a deal. I’ve been here long enough that they think I’m on staff, so all I needed to do was to get it zapped and I was back on track with my schedule intact.
It did get me to thinking though about all of the identities that I’ve taken on this week. I’ve been a commuter. I’ve been a student. I’ve been a customer. I’ve been a poor single slob, a husband, and then a poor single slob again. I’ve been a church “spectator”. I’ve been a dad by phone and by text. I’ve been a pastor by email and I’ve been a friend by Facebook. Some of these were all going at the same time. The one thing that they all seem to have in common is that almost all of them would be labels that other people would identify me by. For me, in my mind, its just been me, flowing from one realm of life to another; Just me and my magnetic card.
I am aware though, sometimes regrettably, that the card I carry for each one of these roles sometimes doesn’t work. Sometimes the magnet is not magnetic. The presence might be there but not the identifying force. It is those times that people get frustrated with me. In any of these roles, I can merely exist. I can look the part without being the part. I can be a student who’s not engaged in the study. I can be a husband who’s not engaged in the marriage. I can be a friend who’s not engaged in the relationship. I can be a church member who’s not engaged in the community. I can be a pastor who is not engaged with the people entrusted to me.
When my hotel key went bad, I merely needed to go back to the main desk where they know me and get re-magnetized. I could do that there, because they know me….or I could show ID which I didn’t have because it was locked in the room. For the rest of my life, I need to go back to the one who knows me. I’m not referring to the IRS either. I mean really know me. I’ve been busy this week. It has been a good busy. Some of it has even been a “God” busy. But in the midst of it, I have seen that I have spent a great deal of time trying to “know Him”, trying to understand His word more fully, trying to understand His faith community better, but what I really need by the end of this is to allow Him to know me more fully.
What I’m getting at is simply this; I just need to “be”, quietly, and in His presence. Some of you who read this may be skeptical, but it is absolutely true. Just to be in His presence, to allow quietness, to open your heart to the one who knows you, is one of the most energizing and transforming things you can do. You don’t need ID either. You just come to the desk, smile and hand over your card. He already knows that you’ve locked yourself out.

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