Have you ever given thought to the question: What does God really want from us?
Now, I know that there are a lot of answers to that question. The answers as varied as the people who deeply ask it of themselves and their church. Depending on your worldview and training you might answer it any number of ways. . .
You could consider what does God really want from us through a theological lens. I am schooled in theological language and tradition. The answers that come to my mind are expected and I can hear many of my theological professors referring to historical authors and teachings that they believe in--and they would be correct. Those are valid answers.
The answer to "What does God really want from us" can take an evangelistic approach. God wants us to share the gospel. To teach people. God wants us to help other come to find him and learn to trust and rely upon him--that that answer would be complete too.
On and on I went answering the question (just as you might) through lenses that I have been given or read about or believe in. But let me offer you one final direction or answer that I read about from Lillian Daniel.
In her book, When Spiritual but Not Religious is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church, she tells a story that perhaps we have experienced.
In her story the church that she is serving has a new seminary intern who was assisting in worship. When the time came for the Pastoral Prayer, this student was called forward to lead it. He listened intently making sure to write down every prayer request as clearly as he could. Then he bowed his head and began the prayer.
But there was a pitfall that he would have to deal with in this prayer. The church had a member whose family was from Poland. The name sounded nothing like it was spelled and was nearly impossible for him to remember. He fumbled over the name trying to recall it. Saying it over and over again, wrongly each time, the church winched with each mistake in pronunciation. Lillian continues:
"Finally he let out an exasperated sigh. . . Continuing with the prayer, he looked up to the heavens and said, "Oh God, you know what the woman's name is.' It was an honest prayer. And the honestly was not just in his frustrated comment, but in his sigh to the heavens as well. He was being honest in his emotions in the middle of a prayer, and trusting that God could take care of the details."
You see, what this story teaches me is that: "What God truly desires of us" is an honest word or expression that comes straight from the heart. We don't need the pomp and circumstances of perfectly perfected prayers and theologically acute responses. What God wants from each of us in an honest word or thought that comes straight from the heart that speaks about faith and our lives.
We meet people every day that offer the properly crafted Christian response to every event, and while that is a blessing at times, at other it is not. When we are in the ditch, when we hurt, we someone that we love or care for is suffering, the honest response to God speaks loudly and fully about our faith and our relationship with the Living God.
I wonder today if you could find someone in your path who might benefit from this type of faith and response? Perhaps you might be instrumental in their grow and faith....