On the surface, the questions “Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?” seem like easy ones to answer. I want to share a story that delves into the deeper meaning of these questions, as told by Rabbi Akiva, one of the foundational rabbis of Judaism. While traveling home to Capernaum, he was so engrossed in contemplating the meaning of God’s Word that he missed his hometown. As he looked at the scroll, he repeated the words over and over in his mind and thought deeper and deeper, until he finally ran into a Roman fortress. Looking up at the gates, he saw a Roman soldier looking down who asked him, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
Akiva answered with the question, “What?” And the centurion looked down and asked again, “Who are you? What are you doing here?” Akiva looked up and asked, “How much do they pay you to ask questions like that to people like me?” And the Roman soldier replied, “Two drachmas per day.” Akiva replied, “I’ll pay you twice as much to stand outside my door every morning and ask me those two questions.” And that’s the end of the story.
Friend, I believe they’re asking what’s your identity and what’s your life’s purpose. Priority always goes to the first question. Life’s purpose is ultimately determined by how we define ourselves. The way we see ourselves determines the words we use, the people we hang out with, the attitude we have, the energy we have, the way we treat others, and even the way we drive! Identity ultimately impacts everything about your life, including your purpose and your values. Allow the Holy Spirit to help mold your identity.