Most of the time, I am a lectionary preacher. This week, the Gospel text (Mark 3:20-35) is one that I have never preached. After reading it with it references to Beelzebub and accusations that Jesus is crazy and words about some unforgivable sin, I understand why I have given this passage a wide berth. But, for reasons beyond my blogging ability, I decided to tackle this tough text.
In preparation, I visited a preaching blog where the discussion referenced verse 35 ("whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother") and centered around the "will of God." Lots of questions about this will of God. Lots of opinions on how we find it. Lots of angst that we have not found it.
Seems like I've spent a good portion of my adult life wondering about the will of God - whether that "will" relates to my personal life, my social life, my vocational life, and I've encouraged the congregation to ponder the will of God for their lives and for the life that we share together. On many occasions, I've said, "The question for us is not 'what do we want?' or 'what do we like?' The question is "What is God calling us to do? What is the will of God for us at this time, in this place, with these people?"
These questions have led to some healthy conversations.
But, yesterday, as I was driving down the road pondering the "will of God" (we preachers are nerdy like that), something new hit me. I am sorely tempted to seek the WILL of God at the expense of seeking JUST God. I am sorely tempted to treat the will of God as something to get right - to ask questions until I'm sure, to study until I have an unwavering understanding, to talk until I run out of things to say. Maybe I've treated God's will as a distinct entity - separate from me - something I have to achieve and do well, at all cost. That makes my relationship with God very goal-oriented.
I do believe God has work for us to do and a direction to follow, but I'm starting to wonder if it's time to put the quest for "God's Will" on the shelf. I'm starting to wonder if deepening my relationship with God is a more fruitful approach to my own discipleship. I'm starting to wonder if the pursuit of God is a much richer challenge than the pursuit of some vague "will" that I may or may not get right.