“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
I used to hate being an administrative assistant. I felt the work was beneath my abilities and my ambitions. On the corporate ladder in my workplace, I felt I was on the lowest rung. I let my title dictate the attitude of my heart. I was resentful of my job, and my work felt like drudgery. The president and CEO of the company made close to half a million dollars. She and the others on the top rungs of the ladder worked with 75 of the most successful and wealthy leaders, CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the county who comprised the board of directors of my workplace. It was easy to get hung up on where you were on the ladder.
I used to get really hung up on my title early in my career. I have since learned that the people who are most successful in their careers don’t care about titles. They care about their reputation, character, ethics, ability to get a job done well and how they treat other people. It is easy for all of us to get hung up on titles and labels throughout our lives. We are parents, step-parents, single, divorced, married. We are wealthy, middle class or low income. We are senior citizens, middle-aged, young adults, tweens and children. We are white, black, a minority or somewhere in between. We all have varying degrees of education and life experience. We are always being lableled.
Categorizing people helps us determine demographics, which help us figure out all kinds of things about the world around us. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau wants to fit Americans neatly into categories. The data collected gets distributed to a number of agencies, organizations and businesses and can be used to target audiences to promote ideas, products and services. Imagine how confusing the world would be if nothing was labeled! We would be lost in translation.
It can be really hard on a person when they don’t quite fall in one category or another or if an assigned label is less than appealing or accepted by society. Stereotypes are popular beliefs held about certain labels assigned to a category of people. Stereotypes tell us how people feel and perceive one another. They help decide how to act, what to say and even who we help. Some stereotypes can be really awful. Stereotypes can be prejudiced and even lead to discrimination. History is chock full of examples no matter the time period or location or people.
Do you let the labels assigned to you decide who you are today? Do they determine your future? Do they determine the attitude of your heart? Do they help you or prevent you from carrying out God’s will in your life? Do they puff you up and make you seem greater than you are, or knock you down and make you feel less than you are really worth?
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Don’t let your label control how you live. Look at Jesus. He withstood so much undeserved shame. He was the Son or God, yet He lived a humble life. He allowed others to label Him all kinds of names from the time he was first conceived. Those labels exposed how and who people perceived Him to be. In the end, He was labeled a criminal and died on a cross. Above His cross a label was mockingly placed that read “King of the Jews.” Jesus Christ really was their King, and His glorious resurrection proved this fact. His resurrection dispelled all myths and false labels about who He is.
Jesus asks us to deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow Him. Let go of your labels. Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith. Let Him define you and how you will live your life! In the end, when you stand before God, He isn’t going to be concerned with your worldly labels. He created you and designed you to be unique. He gave you certain gifts, abilities and talents and expects you to use them to further the work of the kingdom. Jesus shows no favoritism or partiality in whom in loves. After all, He did create each one of us, and each of us is made in His image! What do you want God to say about your life when you stand before His throne?
1 Peter 1:3-7 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” The only thing that will matter when we stand before God is whether our lives reflected and revealed who Jesus Christ is and the work He did upon the cross on our behalf.
When I die, I want Jesus to echo the words in Matthew. Matthew 25:23 concludes a parable comparing how different men used money that was entrusted to them. To the one who used the money wisely, verse 23 says “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'” May this be God’s response to us as He sees how we are good stewards of the provisions He gives to us here on Earth.
I no longer care if I am ever a CEO or a president, rich or poor. I have seen many people fall into sin who have been given great responsibility, power, wealth and fame. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Let us live as God’s children under the care and guidance of our Heavenly Father. We are all God’s workmanship, and He has prepared certain activities, events and opportunities for us! Let us rise to the occasion and accomplish His will in our lives!
Pray this Prayer: Thank you Jesus that you accept me just as I am and You refuse to see me as anything but Your loving child, Your workmanship. I pray you will help me to see past the labels the world places upon my life and the labels the enemy throws in my face, and help me to see myself the way you see me. I am fearfully and wonderful made, worth more than gold, diamonds, money and all things precious on Earth. I pray You will help me accept who I am and what You have planned for my life. I pray I will become the person You have meant for me to be. I pray I help others discover who they are in Christ too. May my life bring glory and honor and praise to You. May it reflect your light and love. Amen.”