In Mark 10 we hear the story of Blind Bartimaeus calling out to Jesus and being healed. Here is someone who understood who Jesus was and despite discouragement from those around him, called out to Jesus expectantly and Jesus answered. Calling Bartimaeus to him, Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus asked for his sight and Jesus told him to “Go. Your faith has healed you.” Now Bartimaeus had his sight back. He could do all the things he ever dreamed of doing. He was no longer an outcast, a sinful beggar in the eyes of his community. He could work to earn his keep and have a chance at a full, rich life. Instead Bartimaeus followed Jesus up to Jerusalem.
As I read this a thought hit me so hard, I felt like I had been slapped. If I were to encounter Jesus in person right here, right now and he asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” what would I say? It almost sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Why would God ask me what I want him to do for me? After all, I’m his creation, his servant. I should be asking him what he wants me to do for him. Yet when we approach God in prayer—that’s exactly what Jesus says to us. I feel like the answer to this question should be big and really holy like world peace or the end of hunger and disease. [This is starting to sound like a beauty pageant.] But that’s not the answer Jesus is looking for. He really wants to hear what is on my heart and mind. He wants me to bring my everyday ordinary, not necessarily holy, thoughts and feelings to him.
When my son was little, I used to listen to him tell me some of the most boring, mundane, silly nonsense. I did it because he was my son and I loved him and if it was important enough to him to share with me, then it was important to me. I did it because I knew that someday, he was going to need to talk to me about character-building dilemmas and life-altering decisions and every daily chat we had was confirmation during those moments of fear and doubt that he could trust that I’d be there for him and that he could tell me anything. I think God works the same way. He is genuinely interested in what I think and feel because I am his child. When it comes to big things in my life, I may be hesitant to bring them to him in prayer but I have years of evidence that God will always be there listening to me and responding in love and with grace.
So how would I answer his question, “What do you want me to do for you?” I guess I would have to say, “Just give me a little of your time. Let me tell you about my day and share a little of myself with you.” If Jesus were right there in person in front of you at this moment asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” what would you say?