Monday Morning Pastor – 5/7/17

Note: Each week we will have a guest writer who will share a few of their personal thoughts on Sunday’s sermon. Unlike Monday Morning Quarterbacking, from which this series gets its name, we aren’t looking to critique so much as share how we have been personally impacted. This week’s post comes from Mary Lebeau.

Title: What Do You Want?
Passage: John 1:35-38; Mark 10:46-52; Matthew 5:6

Did yesterday’s message leave anyone else thinking about the Spice Girls? “Tell me what you want, what you really really want…”

No? Just me? Well, okay then.

For me, the whole day ran around that theme. Sunday night, I went to see a production of Camelot at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman. I knew the story vaguely – King Arthur and the Round Table, Guinevere and Lancelot, chivalry and all that. But while watching, I realized I was watching on stage the reenactment of the themes Pastor Dave hit upon in his message that morning.

You see, Guinevere and Lancelot knew the right thing to do – to stay true to King Arthur and his noble ideals. Their words (and songs) said all the right things. She’d stay true to her husband, he’d stay true to his oath. At least, that’s what they said. But the heart wanted what it wanted, which led to the tragic undoing of all Camelot represented.

And so it is with us, oftentimes. We know what we’re supposed to want, but our lives show that the things our hearts want….what we really, really want….are less of God’s plan and more of our selfish nature.

“What do you want?” Pinch-hitting for Pastor Mark yesterday, Pastor Dave shared that he has been struggling with that question for some time now. And, as he pointed out, we all know the right answer.

“I want to do the will of God.”

Yes, A+. Like most church-going Christians, I know the answer I should be giving, just as I know the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, both verses of my high school alma mater and, apparently, some random Spice Girls lyrics. But does my life reflect what my brain so obviously knows? If I follow my heart, does it lead me into the light of the Son….or to some place darker, and much more selfish?

Is doing God’s will what I want….what I really, really want?

Before answering, we must reflect on who is doing the asking. If I was taking a test in Religion class (like I did for so many years in Catholic school), I would know the answer my instructors wanted, and I would respond in kind. And they would grade it based on how closely it matched their lesson….but never measure how closely I lived what I said.

But I’m not being asked by nuns to regurgitate what I learned in their Catechism lessons. Instead, the Lord of the universe is doing the asking – and no matter how I respond, He knows the truth. I can proclaim all the right answers to anyone who will listen – but the Lord knows my heart.

And, because I know the Lord, I know His heart as well. I know that the question He asks and the answer He seeks is wrapped up in what He wants from me and what He wants for me. As Dave pointed out, Jesus asked the same question of John’s disciples when they began to follow Him. “What do you want?” He inquired, not because He didn’t already know, but because He wanted them to know themselves. And when they answered, He brought them to the place He was staying, spent time with them….and changed the course of their lives forever.

How can we be as rooted in our motives? Well, as Dave said, it all comes down to falling in love. Falling in love with the life Jesus presents for us here on earth can be difficult. After all, it means picking up your cross day after day. It means sacrifice and service. For some of the disciples – and even for some people today – it even means death. It’s a choice, and it’s a life, that can never be sustained on mere lip service.

But I am not called to love my life here. Instead, I am commanded to love Jesus, heart and soul, mind and strength. And when I consider all He has done for me – how He went without sin to that place of torture and gave up His life so I can be saved – I find myself falling in love with Him, over and over again.

As Dave said Sunday, our God is a God of invitation. We have each been invited to be a part of this great love affair with the Creator of the universe, who has already proven His love to each of us while we wallowed in our own sin (or, as Dave put it, the mud).

Jesus exposes the heart of each person He encounters. And each one of us is called to look at ourselves to decide what we want. Because when Jesus asks, He isn’t looking for the right answer. He’s looking for the heart.