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Who are You?

We finished 2021, pre-Christmas, studying the Beatitudes. I intend to return to the Beatitudes for a thorough deep dive. But for now, I want to start this new year reminding you of “What is most Important.”

Here again is a short story about a rabbi and his encounter with a Roman soldier.1

It seems our rabbi takes the wrong fork in a road on his way home one night, and soon thereafter he is startled by a shout: “Who are you? What are you doing here?” 

The rabbi realizes he has stumbled upon a Roman outpost and for a moment he freezes in his steps. Again, the Roman soldier roars, “Who are you? What are you doing here?” 

The rabbi pauses for a moment, and then he calls out, “How much do you get paid a day?” Perplexed by the rabbi’s response, the solder replies, “I get paid two denarii a day, Jew. Why?” 

The rabbi responds, “Because I will double your wage if you come to my house every morning and ask me those same two questions.” 

Oh my. 

So I ask you, you, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”  

These two questions are tightly linked together, because the way you answer the second, answers the first. Put another way, what I am about each day, my to-do list, my order of priorities, becomes who I am.  

Can I get you to picture yourself leaving the house in the morning, already distracted and a possibly a tad frayed. And standing in front of you is someone who stops you and asks, 

Who are you? 

What are you doing here? 

How would you answer these two questions?  

“Uh, I’m just trying to get through the day. I’m already backed up and I’ve got texts and emails pinging as we speak. Would you just leave me alone!” 

Or more poignantly, how would others? 

“He/she is … a successful lawyer, doctor, business person, teacher. Really smart. Really driven. Drinks a little too much. A fun friend. A really good golfer, tennis player, hunter, fisherman, poker player, designer. A huge Clemson or Carolina fan. Loves a good party.” 

Or, “He/she made a difference in my life.” – “He/she knows Jesus.” – “There is something different, deeper, about him/her. I want what they have.” 

The rabbi wants the soldier to come each morning to remind him to think deeply about his answers before he starts his day, because he understands that each day becomes each month, becomes each year, become his life … his legacy. 

Remember, inheritance is what you leave for someone; legacy is what you leave in someone. 

Who are you? 

What are you doing here? 

1Make Your Mark by Brad Gray  


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