Become Who You Are – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis AlmquistLuke 12:39-48

From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.  Luke 12:48

This gospel passage has two layers of meaning.  One layer is a prediction about the Messiah’s return to the earth, what the church has called “the second coming of Jesus Christ.”  A second layer is about our accountability to God for the life entrusted to us… which presumes several things:

For one, that we’ve been given life.  We did not create ourselves.  We didn’t wake up some morning on a far-off planet and determine it was time to be born into this world, on a certain date, in a certain locale, with a certain look, with certain gifts and needs, to certain parents, who would raise us in a certain way.  Not so.  We were simply born into a particular setting.  And those first half-dozen or so years – before we had much power or could exercise much control at all in our own lives – we were very significantly formed (or maybe deformed) by those circumstances into which we were born… and which we did not choose.

Another presumption about the life entrusted to us is how unremarkable we are.  Whether we are a prince or a pauper or something in between, we must eat and drink and sleep; we have the capacity to hope and dream; we have muscles, and a memory, and a will.  From a physiological standpoint, our genetic makeup is almost identical, one person to the next. And, at the end of the day, all of us die.

But then, in quite small but extremely significant ways, we are remarkably different from one another: our gender, the shape of our nose, our desires and abilities and capacities, given all that has been handed to us, and how we have taken up the reins.  And it’s in these subtle uniquenesses about our own life, where we must give an ultimate account to God for what we have made of our life.

The energy in Jesus’ teaching is about our being prepared: being prepared to die but, in the meantime and more importantly, being prepared to live.  Living our lives fully, freely, generously, fearlessly, responsibly, respectfully, unapologetically, thankfully, joyfully the mysteriously, fabulously-amazing life entrusted to us.  Entrusted to us a day-at-a-time, one step-at-a-time, one breath-at-a-time.  You don’t want to miss a moment of it – your life – because life is so precious and it’s so fleeting.

The story is told of Rabbi Zusya, an 18th century Polish rabbi, much revered for his wisdom.

One day he stood before his congregation and he said, “When I die and have to present myself before the celestial tribunal, they will not ask me, ‘Zusya, why were you not Moses?’ because I would say, ‘Moses was a prophet and I am not.’

They would not say, ‘Zusya, why were you not Jeremiah?’ for I would say, ‘Jeremiah was a writer, and I am not.’

And they would not say, ‘Why were you not Rabbi Akiba,’ for I would tell them, ‘Rabbi Akiba was a great teacher and scholar and I am not.’

But then they will say, ‘Zusya, why were you not Zusya?’ and to this I will have no answer.’

Become who you were created to be, by God’s grace.  And then be who you are, by God’s grace.  Be fully alive.  Live the mysteriously, fabulously-amazing life you’ve been given.  Amazing!

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  1. Claudia Malsack Booth on November 27, 2021 at 21:37

    Dear Brother Curtis,

    Thank you for these words of wisdom. We are facing severe illness and potential death in our family. Your words couldn’t have been more timely.



  2. Kitty Whitman on November 27, 2021 at 09:30

    I will keep this and reread it over and over and share it with my children and grandchildren. What a ‘wonderfully and fearfully-made’ and creative person you are!
    Thank you,

  3. Terry Stein on November 27, 2021 at 07:54

    Thank you for this inspiring message. I needed to hear this. At times I do not live up
    to my potential. I always enjoy your messages.

  4. Jonathan Hansen on November 27, 2021 at 06:55

    Brother Curtis, what a great story and great advice. Thank you very much.

  5. Jim on November 14, 2020 at 22:33

    Thank you. Amazing indeed.

  6. Marilyn Burson on November 14, 2020 at 13:03

    This is a very powerful statement, “…to be who you are, by God’s grace. So many of us are too busy comparing our lives to somebody or something else and miss the beautiful life we have been given, by God’s grace. Thanks for the reminder. Love what the Rabbi Zusya said as well in his story.
    Thanks be to God.

  7. Elizabeth Hardy on November 14, 2020 at 10:58

    What a lovely, uplifting message at a time of somewhat unrelieved gloom! Thank you Br. Curtis. Elizabeth Hardy+

  8. SusanMarie on November 14, 2020 at 07:41

    An important message in a world that wants uniformity. Being who we were designed to be can be dangerous in a society that lures and urges us and sometimes demands that we conform to be accepted: ways of being, clothing styles, hair styles, where and how we live, our social life, food, entertainment, the car we drive, etc., etc. We can be considered odd if we don’t toe the line in society. Living authentically, vulnerably, and at peace with our True Selves is definitely dangerous, but once we get there, absolutely worth it.

  9. Priscilla March on November 14, 2020 at 06:35

    Live your mysteriously, fabulously-amazing life! I will, with God’s help! Thank you, Br. Curtis 🙂

  10. Jane Steer on November 14, 2020 at 03:31

    Thank you for this something I needed to hear again today .

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