What do you want me to do for you?
I’m teaching this week at Forest Home, a conference center in Southern California with a rich history and tradition; a place where thousands have met Christ and thousands more have met Him again, having drifted away, carried along by the powerful cultural currents that so easily draw us elsewhere.
I was enjoying a seminar on the practice of prayerfully reading the Scripture, and we were actually doing it, not just talking about it. We were told, as we listened to the scripture being read, to listen for a particular word or phrase that might jump out to us, realizing that this might be the Holy Spirit’s way of getting our attention and speaking to us about something important.
The phrase that jumped out to me was Jesus saying to a blind man: “What do you want me to do for you?” I pondered why this phrase was speaking to me and it slowly dawned on me that, to my shame, I needed to confess that, in that moment and many moments leading up to that moment, I didn’t want anything at all from Jesus. It’s not that I don’t have needs – we’re searching for an Executive Director for our church – we’re searching for a Youth Pastor – we’re about to break ground on a 7 million dollar project – I’m working on a writing project – and we’ve other things going on as well for which I KNOW…KNOW I need the direction, empowerment, and intervention of Christ.
And yet my mind had been too self-sufficiently busy to ask. Whirring quickly, my mind had been creating task lists, and spending the free moments of the day in mountains of correspondence, study, writing, interviewing, e-mails, and more. No time to ask Jesus for anything – I’m too busy. It was a good word, and I’ve opened my prayer notebook again and am praying for people and issues once more. But I wouldn’t have even heard the word telling me to stop and ask – unless I’d stopped. Thank God someone invited me to do so. I’d invite you to do so now… maybe read slowly the same passage I read, and see what jumps out to speak to you. Read S-L-O-W-L-Y… perhaps more than once. Our minds are hyper-caffeinated, even if we don’t drink.