The Rabbi And The Soldier

If you like stories, here's a good one! I'll give it to you straight from the person who told it to me:

The old rabbi lived in a Russian city at the turn of the century.  "Disappointed by a lack of direction and purpose, he wandered out into the chilly evening. With his hands thrust deep into his pockets, he aimlessly walked through the empty streets questioning his faith in God, the Scriptures, and his calling to ministry.

The only thing colder than the Russian winter air was the chill within his own soul. He was so enshrouded by his own despair that he mistakenly wandered into a Russian military compound, off limits to any civilians.

Just then the silence of the evening chill was shattered by the bark of Russian soldier.

"Who are you? And what are you doing here?!" he yelled. "Excuse me?" replied the rabbi. "I said, 'Who are you and what are you doing here?!'"

After a brief moment, the rabbi in a gracious tone so as not to evoke any anger from the soldier said, "How much do you get paid every day?"

"What does that have to do with you?" he retorted.

The rabbi replied, with a tone resembling that of someone who just made a new discovery, "I will pay you the equal sum if you will ask me those same two questions every day: 'Who are you?' and 'What are you doing here?'"1

I'll play the part of the soldier today and ask you the same two questions: Who are you? What are you doing here? The answer can be found in Paul's words to the Ephesians:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-11 ESV)

Not until you know WHO you are will you know WHAT you are doing here on planet earth. So WHO are you?

Paul reminds me that I am an adopted child of God (verse 5), rescued from certain death by my gracious heavenly Father. That is WHO I am. When I understand that, I know that life is ultimately notabout me, but about the One who gave life to me. I am to live for the praise of his glory (verses 6, 12). That is my WHAT in life.

So stop for just a moment and ponder this: How can you bring Him glory today?Click here if you need a little help.

TOMORROW: What My Grandson Taught Me About the BCS National Championship


1 Wayne Cordeiro, Doing Church as a Team, Honolulu, HI: New Hope Resources, pages 33-34.