Tis the holiday season, and, as such, tis the season to get what you want, right? I mean, that’s what all the retail marketers are hoping for, that, if you didn’t get what you really wanted for Christmas this year, “then come on over to our after holiday sale and get it!”
I have to admit that, when I hear that statement, it makes me cringe a bit. There’s something that just seems incredibly self-centered and greedy about having a mind set that says, “I’m going to go after what I want.”
What’s more, it seems almost blasphemous to think of having the attitude that I’m going to demand it from God.
We look at the young man in the story of the prodigal son who demanded his inheritance from his father prematurely. We think what a fool he was.
Here’s an interesting thought, though. What if what you really want is world peace, or for your ailing mother to get well, or your neighbors to stop fighting and get along with each other, or for your co-worker to become a Christian?
Well, all those are noble things, aren’t they? Suddenly “getting what you really want” doesn’t sound so evil, does it?
I think what’s interesting is that, when we hear a statement like “get what you want”, we just assume that people will default to a place where what they really want are more material possessions for themselves.
Well, even if that were the case, what’s wrong with that?
We’re taught that if what you want is in accordance with the will of God, then it’s okay, but if it’s to spend what you get on your pleasures, then it’s not okay.
So, first we have to recognize that what we’ve just decided is that “getting what you want” is not necessarily inherently evil or wrong or bad. Evidently, it depends on what it is you want. So, it’s okay to get what you want…provided that it’s not for you, and that it’s not something you will enjoy…
I don’t think that’s the case. Let’s go back to the prodigal son. He got what he wanted, didn’t he? What did he do with it? He spent it “foolishly” on wild living and pleasure. After it was all gone and there was a severe famine he began to feel need again. What happened next? He came to his senses. He learned a lesson. He realized that all this wild living and pleasure was not really satisfying him. (I actually wonder if he ever would’ve come to that conclusion if he didn’t run out of money.)
He returned to his father having learned a very valuable lesson – a very valuable lesson that he would never have learned had he not “gotten what he wanted” in the first place.
What’s interesting is that his older brother never asked for anything that he wanted. Maybe he thought it was too arrogant or self-centered or greedy to ask his father for something that he could spend on his pleasure. Where did that get him? Self-righteous, bitter and resentful and missing the point of his father’s generosity.
Get what you want. If you find that what you wanted didn’t satisfy like you thought it would, learn a lesson from it and find out what it is you really want. The Father has plenty to go around; plenty of resources, and plenty of patience as you learn your lessons. I think life is a journey of finding out what it is we really want, and I think what the Father really wants is to give us what we really want because he wants us to be happy and fulfilled.