Bread — Want

August 16, 2013


Readings for Friday, August 16, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 2 Sam. 15:19-37; Acts 21:37-22:16; Mark 10:46-52; Psalms 102,107:1-32

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Jesus asks the blind beggar in our reading today from Mark “what do you want?”

Not “what do you think you need,” “what do you need,” “what do you think you ought to have,” not even “what do you wish for in your wildest dreams,” but “what do you want?”

This is an important question, because it really addresses where we always are. Oh, we may think into the future and ask ourselves what we wish we had, and plan for it. We may look around and see the cupboard is bare and say that we “need” food, but the most important question we can always ask ourselves in the present is, “what do we want, now.”

Think about the list of answers we have to that question, “what do you want.” We might say, “I want dinner” if we are past dinner time. Having had dinner, in our response to “what do you you want,” we might answer “dessert” or “ice cream.” If we are out of work, in response to “what do you want,” we might answer a “new job,” but more likely our answer would be even more limited and immediate – “I want some money for gas,” or “I want some money for the house payment.”

The more you think about it, the more you realize that the question of “what do you want?” exposes our real condition, where what we want varies in the moment and the condition, and is generally self-focused. How many of us, really, would answer the question “what do you want?” with “I want my wife to have more love from me” or “I want my children to know Jesus?” Now that I have raised these as possibilities, you may be thinking “Oh, I would say that,” but you in your heart know better. If I went to you, a car enthusiast, right now and asked you what you wanted, if you had just gone shopping for groceries and had eaten recently, you are likely to say “I want a new set of wheels for my hot car.” I, I, I. Me, me, me. My, my, my!

Jesus asks the blind man “what do you want?” And he answered “Let me recover my sight.” Mk. 10:51.

Now, before we say “of course, he would say that, because he is blind,” remember his state of life. He is a beggar on the side of the road. He probably lives a life of subsistence, poor, hungry, spat on, rained on, living in the same set of clothes for long periods of time, unwashed, dirty, stinky. He is used to asking for money, but to Jesus he asks for mercy and for recovery of his sight, which he somehow understands are tied together. He does not ask for something common, but something uncommon. He does not ask for something which man can give, but something which only God can give.

In one very very real sense, when we pray to God, God asks us “what do you want?” Many of us are inclined to ask for the trivial of the day, the “want” in the moment rather than the “want” for all life. How do you respond to that question?

What do you want today? What do you really want today? This is no easy question, and the answer is a lot harder to come up with than we often think.

What do you want to today? Satan whispers in our ear, “Say a bowl of soup.” Will we ask for that or will we ask for something which lasts for much, much longer? God is waiting for an answer.

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© 2013 GBF

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