What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
God wants us to be in tune and in a relationship with Him. He desires that we engage Him to provide what we need because everything resides in Him. He asks us, "What do you want me to do for you?"
There are two incidents in Mark 10, where Jesus asked this question, and both teach us some lessons on how to respond.
The first incident was right after Jesus told His followers that He would be mocked, spat on, flogged, and killed. Two brothers, James and John, made a request, that "... we want you to do for us whatever we ask." Mark 10:35 NIV.
You see, the disciples had sensed that something big was ahead and they wanted to seize the opportunity to be prominent with Jesus, but they clearly didn't understand the big plan God had for the world, nor His plan for their lives.
How do we avoid
the disciples' error?
1 Try to align your request with God's big plan.
We have to be so careful to we keep God's ultimate plan is for the world, the community and, of course, for our lives, in focus. His plan is that His glory will be displayed through us and that we will come to know and grow in a relationship with Him.
2 Be careful about what you are asking.
We can totally miss the big picture and become demanding: "Lord, I want you to give me whatever I ask!" Jesus can become a means to an end, and it can easily become about what we can get from Him.
Jesus' disciples did not understand the full ramifications of their request, and we, too often, don't recognise that He is saving us from ourselves. For Jesus responded: "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptised with the baptism I am baptised?" Mark 10:38 NIV. He, in essence, was asking them: "Can you submit to the suffering of a selfless life?" Sometimes, we work it out in our minds how something may be the best thing since sliced bread; but Jesus is saying, "You don't know what you are asking."
3 Know that greatness in the Kingdom of God is found in
Positions of authority are given to those who are prepared for the use of power in their character and spirit. Jesus had been preparing the disciples to exercise authority in the Kingdom of God, but this authority was not to force others into compliance. No, greatness is not in how many serve us; it is found in being a servant to others. If we want to be first, we are to be last.
The second incident was immediately after Jesus' discussion with the two disciples. Mark led us to witness an encounter that Jesus had with a blind man named Bartimaeus, who was begging beside a road leading out of Jericho. When he heard Jesus was with the crowd, he began to call out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Mark 10:47 NIV.
What do we learn
1 Be humble in your request.
Bartimaeus' request for mercy came with an understanding that we don't deserve anything from God. His love towards us is what we appeal to. Bartimaeus had no thoughts of entitlement, and this is how we need to go to God, saying: "Lord, have mercy on me".
2 Don't be constrained by the crowd.
The crowd tried to get Bartimaeus to shut up, but he shouted even louder: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" He teaches us that there is always a place to go for freedom. No matter what others around you are saying, call out to God!
3 Let go of the past.
In Mark 10:50 NIV, Bartimaeus, throwing his cloak aside, jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. Even though Jesus wants to heal us - to touch us - His greatest wish is to transform us. For Jesus to do powerful things in our lives, we must let go of the past. We have to be willing to step away from destructive habits and behaviours, and embrace what God has for us.
Sometimes, we need to speak to God about a specific thing that we need and not just come with a general request. So, what do you need from God? To conquer an addiction, heal a sickness, or receive salvation?
God looks at our hearts and our motives when we pray. He answers the prayers that fit within His big plan, but be assured, Jesus still asks today: "What do you want me to do for you?"