As you focus on the truth that God is with you, breathe deeply and say this affirmation several times; “In You, I have nothing to prove, nothing to lose, nothing to fear. You are Lord of All.”)
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”
48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me?”
Mark 10:35-36, 46- 51
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” . . . 46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Baggage and Blessings
Wesley Britt was a highly recruited high school football player from Alabama. At over 300 lbs and 6 foot-8-inches tall, he had a number of schools that were interested in his ability as a linebacker. In the end it came down to two; the University of Florida and the University of Alabama, in his home state.
He struggled with the decision, weighing the options. That Christmas he talked with his grandfather about his choice. His grandfather offered some simple advice. “Wesley,” he said, ‘If you want to be Wesley Britt who goes into business and raise a family in the State of Florida, then you should go to Florida. But if you want to be from the great State of Alabama and impact the lives of the people in this state, you should go to Alabama.”
Wesley chose Alabama. He was not disappointed. The key was asking, “what is it that I really want?” Britt he needed to know who he wanted to be before he could decide what he needed to do.
It’s a question that Jesus often asked those who came to him for help — “What do you want me to do for you?” The answer to that question will determine their future.
To answer it they must clarify their values, their goals and their hopes and dreams – they are asked to look at who they are and who they want to be. When they do they can align who God made them to be with their desires.
Without carefully considering who we want to become, we flounder between the many options that call our names. We are apt to approach God in a way that looks like a bumper sticker I once saw. It read, “Jesus is the answer, but what’s the question?”
The problem is that we are pulled by all kind of desires that fall short of what we were made for. C.S. Lewis puts it powerfully when he writes, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
And so the Lord, like Britt’s wise Grandfather, calls us to consider who we want to become. He knows that once that is settled, the lesser desires will lose their luster and we can push away behaviors and decisions that will lead us astray.
For Wesley, the question continued to lead him. While at the University of Alabama he was chosen as one of 22 players on the Playboy All-America team. The award came with a free week at the Playboy Mansion in California.
Once there, he would meet Hugh Hefner personally and be pampered by the Playboy “bunnies.” Many young men would jump at the chance. Britt didn’t. In an interview he recounted his thinking: “Initially, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to take it. It’s a great honor. But after thinking about it for a while, I decided this is not one of my goals.
I put God first and I set my goals for him. . . I knew how blessed I was to be able to play and to do the things I’d done, and if football wasn’t in my future — if I never played another down in my life — I knew God had a plan for me.”
Britt would go on to play in the NFL, win championships and serve in state government. But the biggest win was the lesson he learned from his grandfather.
It is the value of integrity – integrity that begins with the question “What do I want from God?” – and ends not settling for anything less than His best and His plan for who I am to become.
Questions to Consider
- If Jesus were to ask you what you want from Him what might you say? That is, what do you want to become?
- What do you need from God to realize your purpose?
- What “voices” might distract you or call you away from who you want to become?
Almighty God, our heavenly Father. You have made us for yourself and placed in us desires for what is best for us. Help me to push away all other desires, pursuing with singleness of mind what you have set before us, refusing to settle for anything less than Your best.
Rev. James R. Needham, PhD, MDiv