I spoke about caps (hats) a few weeks ago. I spoke about my significant collection of caps and I spoke about how they identify us; our allegiances and our interests. I then used that as a metaphor for how our beliefs and behaviours, attitudes and actions, words and interactions, provide a virtual ‘cap’ to the world of who we are as Christians.
There was one cap that I own that I never mentioned; well sort of never mentioned.
I have a steel blue truckers cap that promotes our family pastoral company that my brother runs back on our home farm in Victoria. I wear that cap often, as it also has a ‘collie dog’ badge on it that belonged to my mother, and I smile and think of her often when I pick it up to wear it out.
I have though a second version of that cap, exactly the same, that I wear when I am working outside. I have owned that cap for a very, very, long time. It is no longer steel blue, but rather is sun bleached grey. It no longer has a brim covered in material, but rather shreds of torn fabric and nearly 80% of the plastic brim on show. It is covered in grime, grease and dirt. But I know that it WON’T ever be thrown out.
Because of all my caps, it reminds me the most of ‘who I am’.
Much is written about identity and purpose. I know I write about it often myself to you. What we must be careful about though, is mistakenly thinking that by prioritising our purpose, our mission, means melding who we are, with what we do, to the extent that our role ends up defining us.
We are far more than what we do as our 9-5.
My tattered and damaged cap grounds me. It reminds me of where I come from and who I am away from the meetings, the emails and the conversations. I am more than what I do; and what I am, needs to be grounded in a solid foundation.
What I am is a farmer’s son, a Gippsland boy through and through. But even more importantly beyond that, before that, I am a son of the Most High. What I am, is a child of Heaven.
Yes, I am flawed, I am broken and I am very fallible – but I am loved regardless. My belief in Christ is not based in an assumption of my required compliance, my belief is based in the unencumbered gift of salvation. My identity is a reflection of what He has gifted me, you, us!
So as we race towards the final week of school for Term 1, take a moment to ground yourself. Take a moment to look beyond what you do, and remind yourself of who you are. Remind yourself that what you do is important BUT who you are while doing it is most important thing.
Be who Heaven called you, made you, to be.
Identity: find it in Him.
This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2023. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.