Let me ask you something this Friday morning: what is your reason for God?
Why do you follow Him? What are you hoping to get out of the relationship? I woke up thinking about this this morning, in the context of the church, in the context of relationships, in the context of friendships lost. Thinking about doctrine and love and a whole myriad of other things. And I think we can boil this question down to one of three answers. The Gospel agrees.
Maybe your reason for God is that you want to feel better about yourself. This is true of the masses in the Gospel accounts. It may be true of the masses today. People from all over the region came to Jesus for healing, for curing, to ask questions, to receive answers. Blind men came, begged for sight, and walked away. A bleeding woman came, touched His robe, and tried to slink away. After an awkward exchange, he let her. A paralytic was lowered through a stranger's ceiling, received his healing, and walked away. The hillsides were filled with throngs of people listening to the Rabbi teach. He fed them, and they all walked away. Do you see a pattern developing here? These people came to Jesus for what He could give to them or do for them or maybe be for them. They came hoping to receive something in return, something that would make them better or at least make them feel better. Their reason for God was themselves, and when that momentary need was satisfied, they walked away.
Do you know anyone like that? We have these people among us. They walk into our churches hoping for a quick fix, hoping for something to make them better. They're searching for a God who is going to heal them. They either find Him, or they don't, and they walk away. Such is the story of the masses.
Maybe your reason for God is that you want to feel better than everyone else. This is true of the Pharisees in the Gospel accounts. They used their knowledge of the law and the Scripture to feel superior to everyone else. They called attention to everyone's shortcomings, berated people for breaking the law. They even came against Jesus when He healed a man on the Sabbath. Their arrogance is incredible. But it is the very reason they threw themselves so wholly into the law - they wanted to feel superior to other men. Their reason for God was their position in society, and when they reached the top, they did all they could to stay there.
Do you know anyone like that? We have these people among us. These people are detrimental to Christ's church today because they are often the loudest voices, by nature of their arrogance, and people get the idea that this is the church. These are the people who tell you if you're broken, you can't come in. If you've got a prison record or a background or a past or a shady smile or a same-sex partner, you're not welcome. These are the people who know pride is one of the "seven deadly sins" but still take a great form of it in pointing out the other six. They know God, but they actively keep others from finding Him. Such is the story of the Pharisees.
Or maybe your reason for God is that you want to feel better about this life. This is the story of the disciples. The disciples came from two general categories of persons: blue-collar workers and sinners. They were guys who knew the value of a hard day's work, but maybe wondered to what end and they were guys who fell way short and knew they could never catch up. They were looking for something beyond this toil, beyond this trouble. They were hoping for a way to make sense of it all. They were hoping for a way to make worth of it all. They were looking for meaning beyond the tax tables and the raging seas. Their reason for God was hope, and when they found it, they could never walk away.
Do you know anyone like that? We have these people among us, although these days, they seem to be few and far between. These are the people who aren't looking in the mirror and aren't looking to the crowds, but are peering toward the heavens and searching for more. These are the people that take the promise of God at His word and know, and live like they know, there's something more than this. This category, even today, is made up of two general categories of persons: those who know the value of a hard day's work and those who have fallen way short and know they can never catch up. They're workers and sinners, and they wouldn't have it any other way because they know that this is how they wound up walking with Him. And they're not walking away. Such is the story of the disciples.
I woke up thinking all of this this morning and decided to share. I wonder some days where I fall, and the sad truth is that it still may change on any given day. Some days, I'm one of the masses, looking to Jesus to feel better about myself. It's been a long time since I've felt like a Pharisee, though I cannot deny that in young Christian zeal, there was a time I wanted God to make me better than others. More and more, though, I'm coming to be a disciple. I know there's something more than this, and I just can't walk away. Because I'm a worker and a sinner, more the latter than the former.
So tell me - what is your reason for God?