Summary: We are all called, and God’s grace is sufficient to make us the people we can be.
“What Are We Looking For?”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview UMC, Newport News, VA
John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus’ first disciples had been disciples of John the Baptist.
And when John saw Jesus passing by he said: “Look, the Lamb of God!”
John’s work had been done.
He pointed them to Jesus and they “turned around”…
…and began to follow Him.
One of these disciples was Andrew, a Galilean fisherman, who had been following John in Judea.
The other disciple is not named, but from early times it has been thought that he is the author of this Gospel.
When Jesus sees these two men following Him, Jesus asks them: “What do you want?”
That’s a big question.
Really, in a very literal sense…
…that is the question that we are all asked to answer.
What do you want?
What do you want to do with this gift you have been given…this gift we call life?
What do you want to produce or achieve?
What are you looking for?
What is important?
What is it that will fill your life with purpose and joy and meaning?
As some of you know, I was out of town this past week…
…Monday through Thursday I was in Blackstone, Virginia with approximately 260 other United Methodist Ministers.
We spent these four days studying, in depth, the meaning behind our Wesleyan understanding of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
It was one of, if not the most spiritually refreshing Christian retreats I have ever experienced.
Never was it boring. Never was it dull.
We spent the days, from seven in the morning until nine at night, learning and dialoguing about the minutest details of the two Sacraments of our Church.
Then, after all this was over, some of us went to bed, some sat in the lounge area and talked for hours, and some of us played basketball in the gym.
Can you guess what I did?
I played basketball with other ministers, and with district superintendents…people from around our conference I had never before met.
I also got to know our Bishop pretty well, as she was with us the entire time, dressed casually and walking among us from Bible study to workshop, to worship, to dinner…you name it.
And during this time, I was reminded of what had first attracted me so to Jesus Christ, and to the ministry as a vocation and a lifestyle.
As a child, I spent a lot of time around ministers—United Methodist ministers, that is.
My uncle was a minister, and he and his family and my family spent every single holiday together when I was growing up.
We would also take trips together in the summer.
My parents and my uncle Jack and aunt Dene were best friends.
We were also close to all the ministers we ever had…
…and we had a number of them because we moved around so much.
I barley remember the pastor we had in Dayton, Ohio because we only lived there until I was five years old…but he and my folks still stay in touch.
I remember, quite well, both of the pastors we had in Bowling Green, Kentucky because we spent quite a bit of time at their houses and they at ours’.
The same held true when we moved to New Jersey, and then, finally to Syracuse, New York.
What I’m getting at is that I was blessed to have been surrounded—very early on in life—by some of the most fantastic human beings…who were, yes, very human…very down to earth, but at the same time, very in love with Jesus Christ and completely committed to His Church.
These were truly nice people.
I saw the way they lived, I experienced the grace of their love and friendships, and I wanted to be one of them when I got older.
And being surrounded by so many United Methodist ministers this past week, I was once again reminded by their presence, their niceness, their grace, their love for Jesus Christ and His Church and their friendship that these are the exact same type of folks I had experienced as a youngster…these people are the reason I wanted to become or to have what they had….
…to live the kind of lives they lived…
…to love the way they loved.
Because more than any other persons I had met, these persons seemed to have found what many of us are looking for…
…for what is important…
…what is it that will fill ours life with purpose and joy and meaning?
So in our Gospel Lesson, Jesus asks John and Andrew: “What do you want?”
And these two men respond to Jesus’ question with a question of their own.
They ask Jesus where He is staying.
They feel so immediately drawn to the spiritual power of Christ Who asks them the most important question of their lives, they feel so connected to Him that they want to be with Him…