Summary: Jesus want to gather us together as a hen gathers her chicks, but are we willing to accept his gracious advance?
Have you ever gotten to the end of your rope? — I have done what I needed to: I’ve graduated from high school, finished college, got a masters degree; I have worked, become a licensed professional, developed into a good project manager; I have been ordained deacon and then priest. And after all that, after everything that I think that I can do, I look at Jesus and ask, “What more do you want from me? What more do I have to do?” The advancement left in architecture is more gradual than what has gone before. And as for church, the chances of a priest being consecrated bishop—particularly a priest with my “unsophisticated” credentials—is nil. So I ask, “God, what more must I do?”
Friends, I have been there. I suppose everybody has to end up there sooner or later, at least those who are type A personality. But the question remains. “God, what more do you want from me?” I’ve given to God, I pray, everything that I have done, all that I possess. What does he want from me? What does he want from me?
God want from me nothing, and yet everything. I cannot offer to God anything that will add to Him, anything that will make Him greater or more glorious, anything that isn’t already perfected in Him. I cannot offer to God anything except what He has given to me. In the words of King David, “Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chron. 29:14). Any gift—any “talent”—is not my own, but is entrusted to me by my Master. So I have nothing that God needs.
This stands in contrast to a pagan view of God. The pagan view is that God can be appeased. When He is angry, he can be mollified. By providing God with something that He doesn’t have, either because we failed to give it, because He simply lacked it, or because He decided He wanted it, we can then manipulate Him into doing something for us. This understanding of God is hard to get out of our heads, because we are bombarded with it from the world, and even from some inside the Church. It’s easier to deal with a god that you can control with certain ceremonies, particular prayers, and special gifts.
But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but they cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who made them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
O house of Israel, trust in the LORD—he is their help and shield” (Ps. 115:3-9).
You can offer God nothing, and yet he wants from you everything.
God wants everything from us. And you know what? He started it! He gave us “immeasurably more than all we [could] ask [for] or imagine” (Eph. 3:20). God started giving. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). He died for you and he died for me. Christ, while we shouted, “Give us Barabbas!” and while we were spitting on him, beating him, blaspheming, smashing a crown of thorns into his head, hammering nails into his hands and feet, while we ran through his side with the spear, even through all that, He loved us and wanted to gather us together. For me, while I dishonored my parents, stole, lied, cheated, and acted ashamed of Christ before the world, through all that, he loved me.
Christ looks at you and me and he longs—he doesn’t wish, want, or merely try—but he longs to gather us together to him. Not to abuse me as I abused him; not to embarrass me for my failures; not to condemn me as one worthy of death. Jesus want to gather us together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, to protect, watch over, guard, and love us. He wants to gather as the hen, which protects even at the risk of her own life, which shelters from storm, which offers her warmth and comfort. He offers as the hen, which stands to gain nothing from her chicks.
Jesus longs to gather us, as did the father of the prodigal son. Christ stands looking for us, waiting for us, and he is filled with compassion when he sees us. He runs to us, embraces us, and kisses us; Christ himself has removed the estrangement between us and His heart breaks to see our predicament. He robes us, gives us a ring and sandals, and kills the fattened calf for us. For us! O Jesus, what must I do? What do you want from me? What could I do?