What Do We Really Need

If Jesus asked you what you wanted him to do for you, what would you say?

That happened to Bartimaeus, a blind man sitting beside the road outside of Jericho, as Jesus and his disciples were leaving the city. When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus passing by, he started yelling, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Those nearby rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David have mercy on me.”

Mark reports that in spite of the large crowd and the efforts to suppress Bartimaeus’ shouts, Jesus stopped. He was willing to let his journey be interrupted by this man. Though he could see that Bartimaeus was blind, he did not presume to act on his need. Instead, he asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

What an opportunity for Bartimaeus! He knew his need – “Rabbi, I want to see.” Jesus granted his request. “Go, your faith has healed you,” and immediately Bartimaeus received his sight and followed Jesus. (Mark 10:46-52)

If you were able to meet Jesus face to face, how would you respond to Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Sometimes we don’t know what our true need is. Even though Jesus may know, he may want to give us the opportunity to decide what to ask, for what we ask reveals where our heart is. James suggests in his letter that when we don’t receive what we ask for, we may be asking with the wrong motives. (James 4:3) Our physical needs are always more obvious, but sometimes we need other things such as eliminating a particular sin in our lives or offering and receiving forgiveness. Sometimes we ask for the wrong things, like James and John asking to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand when he came into his glory.

Many years ago, a priest suggested that I imagine that I was alone with Jesus and give to him any need I had. For whatever reason, I found myself alone with Jesus on a country road on the way to my wife’s grandmother’s farm. I asked him to take the disorder and sin then present in my life. Like Bartimaeus, he did so immediately and completely. It was a watershed moment renewing and empowering my faith.

Solomon asked for wisdom instead of riches and God gave him both. I have never asked God for money or position, but he has more than provided for the needs of our family. I have had countless requests for my wife, children and grandchildren, and most of those requests have been answered. God loves to give us the gifts of the spirit described in Isaiah 11:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, and the fruits of the spirit described in Galatians 5: 22-23.

What do you want him to do for you?

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