I will never forget the day when our oldest son came to Bob and me and announced that he was going to join the army. We were horrified because of the wars going on both in Iraq and Afghanistan…You also have to understand that Robert has never been athletic – he was a nerd who loved to program computers and read books. So, it was difficult for me to picture him in the Army.
It was a very difficult day when I drove him to the Army office to drop him off where they would get him to his next destination where he would have his basic training.
He was good about writing to us. In one letter, he wrote how much he loved the boots and how cool they were. All I could think about is that if it was the boots you wanted, maybe I could have found a way to get you the boots!
Just before he was deployed to Afghanistan, he came home for a few days of leave. He asked if he could have a watch. The watch he wanted had compass. When asked why he wanted a watch with a compass, he said, “Well, you never know it could come in handy if I were to get lost.” I agreed, but thought to myself, “I pray that you always find your way back home.”
We bought the watch.
Compasses are really cool instruments in the way that no matter how you set them down, it will always point to a true north. In today’s world, we rarely use compasses anymore – but tend to rely on our GPS to guide us in the direction we need to go. In either case, the TRUE NORTH is the direction we always want to go –
We have all heard about John the Baptist – the one who lives in the wilderness, eats wild locusts and honey, never cuts his hair, and whose mission was to “Prepare the Way of the Lord.” “The Way” – a path or a road that led to Jesus Christ – NO DOUBT John was the TRUE NORTH – a Compass or a GPS that pointed the direction for others to find CHRIST!
Today, in John’s Gospel today, the writer introduces John the Baptist as he is being questioned by the religious government of that day.
The Jews, Priests, and Levites ask John: Who are you?
- I am not the Messiah
- I am not Elijah
- I am not the Prophet
And, then if totally confused, they ask him, “Then who in the world are you?” John responds:
- I am a Voice for the Lord
- I am a Baptizer in Water
- And, I am Unworthy to Untie His sandals
He is a WITNESS that TESTIFIES to the LIGHT! He is a WITNESS that TESTIFIES to JESUS! His mission through this testimony is that: ALL MIGHT BELIEVE THROUGH HIM!
This is a different twist from the other gospels.
…It begs the question for me:
Who am I? What are my “I ams?” What are my “I am nots?”
Does my COMPASS point a TRUE NORTH that will lead others to Christ?
If I were asked by the religious officials, “WHO ARE YOU?” What would be my response?
What if you were asked, “Who are you?” What are your “I am…” What are your “I am nots?”
Because here is the thing….Everyone’s life bears witness to something or someone. If our mission in life is to testify to the Light – to our Lord and Savior – I wonder if the questions should be considered:
How should we think about and speak of ourselves in relation to Jesus? How should we think about and speak of Jesus himself?
I have a friend that says that in order to become a deacon in her church, you must sign a document stating all of the things you are not allowed to do or not have ever done or will do – specifically like alcohol use, dancing, etc..
And, the congregation is asked that if you know anything negatively about that person, they should come forward and reveal the truths about that person before they are signed in as a deacon.
I asked her what happens when that person messes up and cannot live up to the document? She said they are asked to step down and leave the church.
I responded, “I would never sign that document. Not in a million years.”
As a pastor, I am asked to be held above reproach at all times. I said, “I will, with the help of God!” Have there been times that I have failed? I’m pretty sure I have. As Christians, have there been times that we have failed? I’m pretty sure that we have.
WHO AM I? I am a Sinner. I am unworthy to untie the sandals of the One who came to Save me!
How should we think about and speak of ourselves in relation to Jesus? I am a sinner!
It is JESUS CHRIST who redeems me! OUR COMPASS or our INNER GPS is our HEARTS that recognizes that it is only Christ that can save us! It is our belief in the ONE who was sent to us – to live among us – to be a part of our lives – to give us hope in our eternal life-
OUR ACTION of REPENTANCE DRIVES us to CHRIST! WHEN we can recognize that we ARE SINNERS – THE PATH to CHRIST is being paved…
Our inner moral compass begins to point to a true North – testifying to the LIGHT that it is only Jesus Christ who redeems us and makes us right and whole! How should we think about and speak of Jesus himself?
He is the Messiah! He is the only ONE that can save us! He is the Light of the World!
But, Who am I? I am a sinner. I am a sinner seeking redemption and hope for a better way of life. I am a believer in Jesus Christ who saves me and forgives me.
Our son did make it home from Afghanistan – twice. I never have asked him if he ever needed his compass that was on his watch. It’s too hard of a question for me. But, he has told me that it was God that kept him safe. That through Him and in Him, he believed that he had nothing to fear. When I asked him, “Why the Army?” He said, “I want to serve my country. I feel called to serve. In this way, I serve the Lord – the one who loves me, forgives me, and gives me a hope of eternal life.
Everyone’s life bears witness to something or someone.
Who Are YOU?
How do you think about and speak of yourself in relation to Jesus?
How do you think about and speak of Jesus?
Does your life of repentance pave the way for others to come to Christ?
Is it not who we are in relation to our Lord and Savior a testimony to our TRUE NORTH?