Monday, August 20, 2012

What Do We Want from God?

          In a dream God spoke to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” God, the Creator of everything, asked him, “What do you want? I’ll give it to you.”
          Now, what if that were you or me? What would our response be? Don’t you wonder sometimes how we’d answer? I do.
          So, we’re thinking about how we’d answer God if he asked us what we want. Now, add to that what Paul is telling the Ephesians, “Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness… watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
 17Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants… Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
          Now, as if that wasn’t heavy enough, we also hear Jesus speaking in John’s gospel about living Bread that when eaten will give that person eternal life.  Jesus is saying he is that Bread…“The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self… Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
          So, there it is God Message for us today. What would we ask for if God said he would give us anything? We aren’t to sit on our hands and not do anything with our time here. We are to think about the things Jesus said. Drink deeply of God’s Spirit. And then…eat, the Bread of Life.
          That’s quite a lot to think about, to take in today, but hey, we’re here and we’re intelligent beings, and we’ve the time right now. So…where should we start?
          Let’s begin with what Solomon requested…wisdom. Don’t you think it a little odd that a young man would ask God to give him a discerning heart so that he could govern the people and decide right from wrong? But maybe it isn’t too strange considering who his parents were and the fact that he was raised and educated by the best and wisest scholars in the royal city.  So, maybe if we’d had the same opportunities we’d have answered God the same way.
          You know, we have been educated by some pretty smart people and yet I wonder if we’d ask for a discerning heart when questioned by God.
          So, being educated people and intelligent, could it be that we’ve been wasting our time on busywork, useless, frivolous tasks and not focusing on the things of the Spirit? Maybe you haven’t but I know I have.
          I’ve done most of the things Paul was talking about. It’s not something I’m proud of, in fact it shames me to think of some the things I’ve wasted my time on. But, that’s in the past and today I am more focused on what God would have me do.  Even then I still don’t use my head. There are still times when I don’t feel like singing any songs at all let alone songs of praise. 
          You know that usually happens when I don’t take time to be with God.  I think I don’t have time to talk to Him or sit and commune with Him and then I find myself in a slump, those dark places none of us likes to be in.
          Have you ever gotten so involved with work that you forgot to eat or you didn’t want to go to bed until a particular task was completed? Pretty soon you run out of energy, you get kind of grumpy, and you’re just not too much fun to be around.
          That’s what it’s like when we don’t eat from the Bread of Life.  Just like we need some carbs in our diet every day so we need the Bread of Life, Jesus, in our life every day or else we don’t feel right. We feel like something’s missing.
          And there is something missing. We’re missing out being energized by the Spirit, by eating from the Bread of Life. Paul said we need to drink huge draughts of the Spirit and Jesus said that we need to eat of the Bread of Life.
          Just as our bodies need nourishment from all the basic food groups so does our soul need to be fed by drinking in God’s Spirit and by eating from the Bread of Life.
          How do we do that, eat and drink God? Friends, I believe that our soul gets its nourishment by being actively engaged with the triune God, reading his word, praying to him continuously, singing His praises, and taking time to just sit and drink in his Spirit in those quiet times of our days. And if we don’t have quiet times then we need to make time for them. It’s that important.
          So, if God asks you what you want think about how you’d answer. And as you think about that allow him to change your life by drinking from his Spirit and eating from the Bread of Life in the ways God has created just for you to do that.
          If we strive to do all that then Jesus says that we will live forever. Some have gone on ahead of us and are already doing that. Some of us are neglecting our souls and need to get back to being with God. And some have been diligent in doing the work God has asked them to do and they’re just waiting for the day he invites them to come home.
          What do you want from God? What does God want from us? And how can we know the answers to both of these questions? Friends, you and I will discover the answers when we take time to be with God and invite Him to be with us in our quiet places.
          Thanks be to God for his patient grace. Amen.

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