Who am i?
A beautiful song called “who am I” by the band “Casting Crowns” asks the question: “who am I, that the Lord of all the earth, would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?”
You are at an age where you are more and more working out who you are. I know this, I remember this, and I pray to God that you do a better job of it than I did at your age. It is not always an easy time.
Who am i? It is a question that you can ask about all sorts of issues, when moving out from under your parents beliefs and likes, to owning your own.
Who am I when it comes to my political beliefs? Who am I when it comes to my tastes in clothes, in food, in cars, in music, in relationships?
Who am I in this story? In the parable of the sower? The seed is the word of God we are told. So we are the soil, and the harvest or the yield depends on what sort of soil it is that the seed falls upon.
But what type of soil am i? Is there anything I can do about it? Because if you think about it, the soil played no part in becoming what it is. Did the soil that was rocky do anything wrong, or did the other soil intend to have weeds in it, or did the other type mean to get compacted into a path?
If we are the soil, as the parable seems to suggest, then we have no control over what sort of soil we will be.
But that also doesn’t mean that what we are an accident.
As much as you might step out from behind the faith and understanding of your parents and own your faith and opinions for yourself, remember to take with you the good bits, remember the wisdom in their sayings. You just might surprise them, like I surprised my mum who, whenever I repeat her wise sayings, remarks that she had no idea that I was listening when I was a teenager. But I was.
And one of those sayings of my mother was: “there but for the grace of God go you”. Meaning? If you think you are good soil, and if you produce a rich harvest for God in the world, it had nothing to do with you. You did nothing to earn it. All glory goes to God. Why were we born in a free, rich country and not into a slum in Calcutta or Johannesburg? We brought nothing, we did nothing to earn it. God made us the soil we are and it was not by accident, it was for a reason. So we trust God, even if we can’t see what that reason and purpose are, we thank God and try to use what he has given us for others.
And then, we thank our parents. One of my sayings, which I like to think is pretty wise, (so you might want to listen to this one too) and which I like to use often, is something along the lines of : “We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before”. What does this mean? If we are able to accomplish anything, if we can see a long way down the road, if we can build anything good, do anything good, it is only because we have a good foundation, someone is carrying us on their shoulders, someone has fought the same battles we face, and generations of hard-working loving faithful people have handed on to us everything that we have.
We owe it to them to do whatever we can. To work as hard as we can to hand on the faith to the next generations, to love, to make the world better, not worse, by our being in it. To realise our potential.
What sort of soil am I in the parable of the sower? There will be times in your life when you will be able to identify with every type of soil mentioned. But the rocky times are not the end. The weedy times are not the end. We are not defined by these times. We need to look at the big picture.
Those who are fighting and have fought this battle of the faith along with you will tell you that there were times in their lives when their faith was rocky, there were times when it was almost choked out by the cares of this world, the temptation to love money and possessions too much, times when they didn’t understand God, times when they felt barren and dry, but look around you!: they are here.
So don’t be too hard on yourselves in the hard times, but know where to come to reconnect. Do not try to live out your life and faith alone.
And know this for sure: At the end of the chorus of that song I mentioned right at the start of the sermon, the singer finished with these words: you’ve told me who I am: I am yours.
God has made promises to you in your baptism that he has always kept, and will always keep. No matter how far you wonder he will always be here, no matter how rocky or withered up your faith feels, that does not change who God is, and it certainly does not change how he sees you. And that is an important message for all of us, young adults in the faith and senior adults.
We are not God’s children IF, God does not love us WHEN. God loves us. The cross of Jesus demonstrates that to us. The empty tomb of Jesus proves that to us.
He has told us who we are. We are his.
Now, tomorrow, for the rest of your lives, and for the life to come.