by Rev. Dale Azevedo, Sr. Minister          –          August 1, 2019

There is something about being on vacation that makes me ponder the future. I ask myself things like “What will next year be like?” or “What do I want to be doing in five years? Or 10 years?” It was while I was pondering these things that an even more powerful question came to me:

What does God want from me?

I know this sounds like a basic question and one that we, as people of faith, ought ask ourselves regularly. But for some reason this time the question felt quite profound, as though it would answer many of the other questions I’d been wrestling with. And, as I began to think more deeply on that question, the answer came to me immediately:

To love others
and to help make other people’s lives better.

Again, this may sound like a simple answer, but it was anything but simple to me. It was deeply moving and it even brought a sense of relief. These are the two things that God wants from me. Everything else is fluff.

Think about this for a minute. If you know exactly what it is that God wants from you, is there anything else as important? As people of faith, our primary task is to do God’s will. What we want and what others want is secondary to this one goal. As we will be reminded in the coming weeks during our sermon series on the 10 Commandments, the first commandment is “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me.” Anything that we place before God becomes our god, and that ought not be so.

Think about how freeing this can be. As Christians there is only one being we need to please: God. Everyone else’s demands (and there are a lot of those demands!) fall behind, and perhaps even become irrelevant.

When I realized this, I had a second revelation. If I know what God wants from me, then it’s easy to take stock of how I’m doing. That night I laid in bed and asked myself two questions:

Who did I love today?
How did I make someone’s life better today?

When I was able to answer those questions, I was able to close my eyes in peace and know that I had done all that God had asked of me that day. Again, think about how freeing that is; to rest easy knowing that you have done God’s will for that day.

Of course, these are my questions and my call from God. Your mileage may vary. What God calls you to do may be entirely different than what God calls me to do. In fact, what God calls me to do today, may not be what God calls me to do in 5 years. And I will need to develop new questions that help me to know I am living God’s will. What is God calling you to do? If you had to answer the question, “what does God want from you?”, how would you answer it?

What does God want from you?

I believe you know the answer to this question. Deep inside, or maybe riding right on the surface, is your answer. What immediately comes to mind when I ask you ask this question? Don’t try to answer what you think I want to hear. Don’t answer what you think will be “acceptable” to others. Answer it honestly. There is, of course, a reason to evaluate that answer and ask later, “Is this really what God wants from me?” But my guess is that the answer will come pretty easily. It’s living up to the answer that is difficult!

Once you have done this, you can then change that answer into specific questions that you can ask yourself. Did I <insert God’s desire for you here> today? How did I do it? When did I do it? And when you can answer affirmatively, rest easy knowing you’ve done good for God today.

Now, you know there will be those days when we won’t be able to answer affirmatively. In my case there will be times when I will recognize that I didn’t love someone fully or that I missed an opening to make someone else’s life better. In those moments, it provides a wonderful opportunity to receive God’s grace. “No, I didn’t love <insert name here> today, but I know that God forgives me and will provide an occasion to do better tomorrow.” You can do the same. Feel God’s grace. Seek forgiveness. And do better tomorrow.

So I ask you again…

What does God want from you?