“What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
Knowing what was in the heart of people (John 2.24), Jesus was not asking because he didn’t know. “What do you want, expect, require… What are you seeking?” Jesus asks of two young men who, after having had Jesus pointed out to them at a distance, had begun following him. (That’s the range of the word’s meaning in the original.)
Recognize that Jesus didn’t yet have any disciples… these two weren’t following the crowd (there wasn’t one yet), they were out on their own, following HIM. Jesus actually turns around to face them, and they are apparently close enough to hear his voice… (tell me they weren’t trying to sneak up on him!) Their trailing behind made it obvious WHOM they were following. But why? What’s the point? Jesus is asking them to disclose their motivations, their goals.
We are almost always heading in some direction or another… but how often do we really stop to ask ourselves why – what it is we’re really looking for. U2 probably still sings that old chestnut, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”… fair enough, but, in our most honest moments, a lot of us still haven’t found what it is we’re supposed to be looking for.
Are you lurking behind me because you’re just curious… or do you really want to know who I am? Or have you really thought about it? What is it that is before you in your field of vision as you head through the day? And why?
There are a lot of people doing a great variety of things as they go about the process of trying to find what they’re looking for… or seeking something for which to look. Many times our conversations focus on the task at hand, the search: How do you like your church? Was that movie any good? How’s that new “thing” of yours workin’ out for you?
What ARE you looking for? What are the motivations that cause you to walk where you walk, to go after what you do? Some things strike your interest and others are just “Meh.” Why is that?
Jesus still asks those lurking behind him “What are you looking for?” These two guys wanted to get to spend time with a strange new Master. Why are we going where we’re going? What are we thinking we’ll find? Does anyone ever ask that?
We can honor people when we respectfully and honestly offer them the space to speak about more than their daily lives, to unroll their “inner quest,” what it is they’re really HOPING the stuff of life will lead them to, what down deep within them seems to be worth pursuing? And why?
Often we don’t know ourselves… we’re just following our feet… but one who asks good questions just might be able to draw out of us clarity of vision, of purpose of which even we ourselves might be unaware.
Don’t just settle for “what’s goin’ on?” when you have the opportunity to give someone the freedom to open up and tell you what they’re really hoping to find.
Or, as you pursue your own to-list for today, allow a voice from a couple steps ahead of you to turn toward you and challenge you – “What are you looking for?”