Once, a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. Luke 18:18-23 (NLT)
What do you want from me?
If asked to sum up the role of a circulating nurse in the operating room using one word, I would reply—”go-for.” In the middle of the surgery when an instrument is dropped, I go-for another. When suddenly the procedure changes, I go-for the things needed. When we start with 10 sponges but need 15, I go-for the other five. It’s not glamorous, but as the only unsterile person in the room, it’s my job and it’s important.
There are days when the plan changes, equipment is finicky or there seems to be extra gravity in the room and things end up on the floor; on those days I run a lot. It can be frustrating, since the go-for role is only one part of my job. Some days as I reenter the operating room from one run, I’m greeted with, “Can you get another retractor?” When I return with the retractor, someone has dropped the forceps, and it’s back to the storeroom. Returning with the forceps, the camera picture is fuzzy, or the printer is out of paper or ink. Those days make me grumpy. There are times when I want to shout, “What else do you want before I leave this time?” but I don’t. It’s what I do. It accomplishes the goal of helping the patient.
Luke writes about the interaction between Jesus and the “Rich Young Ruler.” A young, affluent man came up to Jesus and asked, “What do you want from me?” His concern was about getting into heaven and he wanted to know what Jesus expected. He wanted to know what the “cost” was going to be. He came ready to tell Jesus what he had all ready done, since he had kept all the laws Jesus mentioned. Presumably, he was willing to keep on doing that.
But, the young man wasn’t ready for the actual requirement.
Jesus’ answer was surprising. Jesus didn’t give him the thumbs up for his good behavior. In my mind I picture Jesus looking at him, squinting a bit, raising one eyebrow and saying, “Good. There is one more thing, sell all you have and give it to the poor, you’ll get your reward in heaven. Come, follow Me.”
What did Jesus want from him?
What did Jesus want? He didn’t want obedience based on the young man’s ability to keep the rules. It wasn’t his money, either. Jesus wasn’t the caricature of the TV evangelist telling the guy to sell everything he had and give it to Jesus’ ministry. Jesus wanted this man to sell what he had, give the profit away and then follow Him.
Jesus wants us to follow. In John 10 Jesus refers to Himself as a Shepherd, The Good Shepherd. Sheep have nothing to give a shepherd. The shepherd is the one who provides the safety, the green pastures, and the cool water. The shepherd is the one who does the leading; the sheep are only expected to follow.
What does Jesus want from you?
What does Jesus want from you? The only thing you can give Him, yourself. He wants you to follow Him. He wants your trust. The sheep don’t fret when they walk over a stony pasture with no grass to eat. They follow. They don’t wonder if the shepherd knows what he’s doing when they can’t see the stream of cool water. They follow. Sheep don’t gather to talk and worry about how the shepherd is going to get them back to the barn. They follow.
Sheep trust the shepherd to take the paths that are the best. They trust the shepherd to lead them to the places that will benefit them. Sheep trust the shepherd to keep them secure from harm and to return them safely to a place a rest.
Sheep trust the shepherd and the shepherd takes care of the sheep.
Father today help me to listen for Your voice. Teach me to trust the path You have chosen. Remind me You know the way, we’ll get there together if I simply follow. Teach my ears to hear only Your voice. Teach me to abandon myself to Your way. Amen.