I find I often ask this question: “God, what do you want me to do for you now?” This is a fairly common question for someone in full-time ministry. It would be a disaster if my attitude was, “Okay God, this is what I think I should do next!” (as if I could know better than God!).
As Christians, we believe that God is at work in our world, putting right injustice and working to transform people’s lives. As Christians, we are called to seek God, discern where He is working, and then humbly ask how we can help God in the work He is already doing. It’s a real privilege to work alongside God in the world!
As part of my ministry training, I have the opportunity to receive spiritual accompaniment. This is a process where by someone helps me to discern and reflect on my faith, and the impact of my faith on my life. I have had one session of this so far, and I have already discovered another wonderful facet of my faith, which I hadn’t really considered before.
To help me see this, my spiritual accompanier reminded me of this story in Mark 10:
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means ‘son of Timaeus’), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked him. The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.’ ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:46-52 NIVUK)
I’ve highlighted the key question in bold. My spiritual accompanist told me this story and asked me to ponder how I would answer the question Jesus put to Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?”
In all honesty, I don’t know how I would answer it yet, because I am not used to asking such a question! It is far more common for me to ask it the other way round: “Jesus, what can I do for you?”
What I have been helped to realise and remember is that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. That goes for all believers, not just ministers. Jesus comes and offers to serve us and meet our needs.
Now, lets be clear: He meets our needs, not our desires! In other words, Jesus is willing to help us with the things that we need in life: forgiveness from sin, life transformation, reconnected with God. He doesn’t come to help us get what we want: new car, more money, bigger house.
I was still profoundly moved when I realised that He comes and asks me what I need Him to do for me! In order for me to minister to others, Christ first comes to minister to me.
As I say, I don’t know how I’ll answer that question yet…but I’m glad I was asked it!