Thanks For Nothing

Jesus told James and John they didn't know what they were asking when they requested a seat on His right and left hand. One of the more interesting moments in my Sabbath season of renewal was the moment the Holy Spirit asked me, “Have you ever really thought through what your life would have been like if I’d given you everything you wanted?”  This is a good question for anyone to pause and consider. I had never, until that moment, actually stopped to consider what my life would have really been like if God gave me all that I wanted. My journey of renewal made me very aware of the fact that what I’d really wanted God to give me, was evangelical rock star status as a pastor. As ugly as it was for me to admit, it was important for me to state my case honestly in the same way James and John’s mother asked Jesus, “Grant that my sons sit at your right and left hand.” With naked honesty as my starting point, I began to walk through what my life would be like as an evangelical rock star pastor; the fame, the struggle with ego, the admiration, the criticism, the loneliness, the cost of my sanity, the cost to my marriage and family, not to mention the cost to my own walk with God. I was confronted by the Holy Spirit who declared to me the same thing Jesus told His disciples, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” I came to the realization that I had no idea what I was asking God to give me, and I suddenly became very thankful that I didn’t get all the stress, all the drama, all the shallowness of what I once thought I wanted so badly as a rock star evangelical pastor. Now, I want to be very careful. I’m not suggesting that those who inhabit a sort of pastoral rock star status in North America are falling short of what God wants to do in them and through them. Who am I to judge such things? What I can say is that I came to the place where I could honestly say to God, “Thanks for nothing. Thanks for not giving me what I thought I wanted so badly.”