[Yes, I’ve mentioned this bit of history before, but you love it so much it bears repeating]
Two thousand years ago, there was a great Rabbi named Akiva. Akiva was heading home late one night, when the darkness and fog caused him to make a wrong turn. Rabbi Akiva ends up at this massive Roman outpost. As Akiva approaches, he hears a wrestling on top of the wall, and a soldier yells down “who are you, and what are you doing here?
Akiva responds, “Excuse Me?”
The guard yells, again, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
Akiva pauses, and then asks: “How much are they paying you?”
The guard says “What?”
Akiva repeats, “How much are they paying you?”
The guard states, “20 denarius a week.”
Akiva says: “I’ll pay you twice that to come to my house every morning and ask me those two questions.”
[This tidbit is from Rob Bell’s podcast, which can be found here, Robcast episode #128, and I wrote about this seven months ago in another article]
We do have to ask ourselves from time to time, who we are, and what the heck we’re doing on earth. After all, when I woke up this morning I’m pretty sure I didn’t “deserve” another day on earth. It happened, and I’m grateful for it–but there are plenty of people out there that didn’t make it through the night. Why did I get another day, and they didn’t? Most mornings I simply pop out of bed, a victim of my alarm clock and tight schedule–without appreciating the fact that I’ve been given another (undeserved) day on earth.
Roger Hodgson of the band Supertramp said it best their classic The Logical Song:
There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep
for such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am?
There are problems with answering the question “Who am I?” First, we are tempted to tell our story. Second, we are tempted to give our biography. The problem is, we are not our biography. We are not the the story we tell.
You are not your biography. Continue Reading