Saturday, June 27, 2009

"What Do You Want?" (Part 1)

“Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’” (John 1:38 NIV).

Jesus knows how to ask a question that goes beneath the superficial issues of our lives, and taps into the deeper, more substantial matters of life itself. This one question, “What do you want?”, is a perfect example.

The Bible tells us that two men listened attentively to John the Baptist, and one day heard him say, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John was speaking about his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth. The two men immediately left John and started following Jesus along the road.

Imagine how stunned these two must have been when Jesus abruptly turned to them and point blank asked, “What do you want?” It had to take them back a step or two.

How would you reply to such a question if it were put directly to you by the Lord? Many of us are not honest enough with our own souls to even know how to answer such a question. We fumble about for words, and stumble over our secret fears, and end up sputtering in the face of Life’s fleeting and unexpected opportunities.

So, what do you want? No, what do you really want?

So many of our wants are trite and frivolous, while others are vainly ambitious. We want a bicycle, a car, and ticket to the show. A better hair-do. We want world peace, and animals living in harmony with man. We want all bad people to be good and behave themselves.

We want our toilets to flush without backing up. We want insect repellant, and a cure for dreaded diseases. We want free stuff. We want liberty. We want money. We want our candidate in the Oval office – not theirs.

We want entertainment, pleasure, fun, and we want it without guilt. We want answers. We want good weather. You see how the list can go on and on? Sooner or later we will actually land upon what it is we really, really want. That’s what Jesus is asking about.

“So, what do you really want?” Jesus says to you; “I know all the religious answers, all the ridiculous answers, and all the right answers – but, what I’m looking for is the real answer. What do you want?”

How would you answer that question today?

I love poetry. Recently I came across a real jewel written by John Quincy Adams. It is simply too good not to pass along to you, and I will do so tomorrow (for the sake of space). Perhaps you will find in his whimsical and probing words a voice for your own deep, unspoken longings.


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