Today’s question is: What’s the question? What’s the question that drives us?
At our worst the question that drives us is: "What’s in it for me?" Or similarly, "How can I get what I want?"
There’s little hope or peace in the first question. It assumes that I will be all right if I there is something in the current situation for me, especially it I’m the one who decides what’s good for me. But “What’s in it for me?” leads me on an endless chase that spirals inward.
"How can I get what I want?" is a better question because not everything I want is harmful to me or others. At least some of what I want is good.
The answer to "How can I get what I want?" is more complex than we would like it to be. We want dessert because it will make us happy, and that kind of happy is real, but short-lived. There is a better happiness available than any amount of desserts can provide. That’s why for centuries Christians have observed Lenten practices. Self denial does not diminish me in a damaging way but in a way that is liberating and ultimately joyful.
We are happiest and most joyful when we begin to realize that all our short term pleasures are meant to remind us of and point us toward God, in whom we live and move and have our being. Chocolate cake is sweet. Standing justified in the presence of God is sweeter. Being recognized for something we have done is sweet. Being able to use our gifts in service to God and neighbor is sweeter.
What do you want? Do you know?
What will you have if you get what you want?
The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. — Psalm 23:1
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,