Priorities. Vision. Direction. Mission. Purpose. All key words for leaders and for followers. Then comes Jesus question in Luke 18:41, “What do you want me to do for you?” In Reading through the Bible in a Year, I came across this question in the story of Jesus healing a blind man.
Typically when I read through this story, it almost seems like a no brainer type question. How else would you expect the guy to answer except, “I want to see”? I know it. You know it. Even the disciples knew it, and they weren’t known for catching the obvious.
Then I heard Ruth Haley Barton talk about Lectio Divina, a spiritual reading of the Bible. Instead of plowing through chapters to take bite size pieces of a story in verses, or even a verse. To read and listen for the Spirit’s prompting of what He might be saying. In most cases you read and listen for the Spirit’s prompting to zero in on the phrase to ponder. In this 1st instance as she taught us Lectio Divina, she clued in on this story and this question: “What do you want me to do for you?” Go talk to Jesus about your answer.
The reading took on a more personal note. There was more to the healing, then sight restoration, there was life restoration involved. As I began to ponder the question, I had to examine priorities, vision, direction, mission and purpose. What do I want Jesus to do for me? What do you want Jesus to do for you?
Lectio Divina teaches me to personalize the story of the Bible. Verses are not the story of only back then, the Spirit is working through that Word right now in my heart and my life. That’ s why Reading through the Bible has become a daily practice of spiritual food for the soul. Lectio Divina slows my fast pace down to seek God’s Word for my life this day.
Practicing Lectio Divina asks the Spirit to guide me to a phrase, praying, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Then asking 4 questions in working through the phrase chosen:
1. How is my life touched by this word/phrase?
2. What is it in my life right now that needs to hear this word?
3. Where am I in the dynamics of this story / this passage that connects with my own life experience?
4. What is my response to God based on what I have read and encountered?
My answer to: “What do you want me do do for you?” that day led me to re-connect with living on purpose — building lives to be like Christ. I began to see where I had gotten “off-purpose”, and to re-examine how I invested my time, my priorities, my life. Slowing down to ponder the question gave the direction I crave for following Jesus in life. How about you? What do you want Jesus to do for you?