Who would ever admit to doing all this God stuff for “reward”? That would be very “worldly”. That would make us no better than (even!) the sinners loving their own. And that would make us shallow and not righteous at all. That would make us “normal” and not “godly”. And that would never do! What would people think?
I am seeing more and more (something I never saw before) – I am seeing “reward” preached as “faith” – I am seeing reward as a reason for “following”. The reward of eternal life rather than in our own lifetime – a delayed reward – a “save now and cash it in later” reward. I have believed the “followers’ teaching” of you will get your reward in heaven all my life.
Yet more and more I view that “style” of “following” as hedging my bets – “What’s in it for me?” stuff.
Does that sound sceptical jaded, cynical, non-Christian … just (plain) non-biblical and “wrong”?
“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’ When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” Matthew 20:20-28
What do you want?
What an honest question! What do you want? It applies to each one who kneels – every time we each kneel – in front of God. Because don’t we kneel/bow in praise and worship, in supplication and intercession, in question and answer?
In our prayers: help me to love you more, help me to hear you more, help me to be who you want me to be (more) … In our hymns: You are my everything, we commit ourselves to you, we love You more than life itself … ! In our churches: let us prepare for worship.
And in our bible: What do you want?
My answer changes from day-to-day – moment to moment. But there is always a want in there somewhere …
Help me through this moment, allow me to hear You in that conversation, allow them to hear You through me, let me have these moments of downtime … Be with them, embrace them in Your love, help me keep my mouth shut and grit my teeth in this church meeting … ! Lord, they have a problem, I have a problem, WE have a problem!
And the more “traditional” (obviously!): I want to praise You … worship You … serve You – obviously.
And (more and more) my dilemma is that “I want something” – but I have no idea what it is!
Drives my wife mad, drives my church family nuts, irritates the hell out of my children. And sometimes I manage to keep quiet (and am usually asked “What’s the matter with you?”).
Looking back my answer to “What do you want?” changes – and will continue to do so – day by day – month-by-month – year-by-year. And for me –
THAT is the answer to what I want.
Change. Growth. Change. Intimacy. Change. Honesty. Change. Trust. Change. Doubts. Conversation. Sharing. Trust. Relationship.
A faith (not by sight) – but “faith” at such a deep-core-level that my faith just “is” – all the time in everything and everyone. Because I am finding that “reward” (in the traditional sense) is less and less important. That “now” is more important … that “being” is more important … “loving deep inside” (where no one can see) … “being” in this moment always – all of that “stuff” is what I want.
Because unless I change – I will stay the same (except I won’t).
If I stay the same I will “change” to push things away that may change my mind, I will change to exclude people who might make me reconsider, I will change to only huddle with those who reinforce “correct group think” – because I will change to fear “outsiders”.
And who then is my relationship with? And how do I NOT become toxic inside? And how is that NOT changing me? And just what kind of relationship is that? And isn’t THAT that why most of us committed to the Lord (before we changed again) … ?
That on our own we are not enough On our own our mortal lovers are not enough either. That we each need a relationship that allows us to change always. We yearn and desire an “always-on relationship” – an “imperfectly perfect relationship” – a “real relationship” (that I struggle to find with anyone else)?
Which prompts a thought …
Might that be what He wants of us as well? And if so – just how “Love Is Always The Answer” is that?
What do you want?
I want THIS honesty right now in every moment and always. And if when I die it gets even better – than I am up for that as well (and if not – then this IS enough)!
That would be my answer right now.