By Ken Costa
I recall sitting with my immediate boss in a lunchroom overlooking London Bridge. I was working for one of the leading global financial institutions as the deal maker for new transactions. It was that time of the year so many of us love and hate: the end-of-year performance review.
I looked across the City of London, imagining the centuries of trade and commercial activity that had taken place in what is still the greatest financial center in the world. I remembered that the coat of arms of the City—Domine dirige nos (“Lord guide us”)—tells the story of a history of dependence on God. The merchants and bankers, the coffee traders and gold dealers, the insurance companies and guilds of the past all had sought God’s guidance. My boss asked me what my objectives were, what I was expecting to achieve, and what I wanted out of life and my job. I said that what I really wanted to do with my life was to make Jesus Christ known to our generation. Ultimately that was what motivated me: to seek his guidance on all aspects of my day-to-day banking work, just as the City fathers, dealers, and merchants had over the centuries. My boss could not have looked more confused and stuck for words partly because we were doing a compensation review and the idea of mixing God and money unsettled him. He wanted to deal with my past performance, the bank’s current objectives, and my prospects for the next year. Of course, I was also ready for that discussion and was well versed in the arguments for why my achievements of the last year should be properly rewarded. But I couldn’t help but respond authentically to his question, “What do you want?”
Very often, when Jesus asks that question, we have no idea what the exact answer is. But our immediate response should nevertheless be, I want to hang out with you. I want to find out more about you. I want to be regarded as part of the family that meets in your home in exactly the same way as the invitation was extended to those two disciples. Because I know that in hanging out with you and getting to know you, what I truly want for my life will become clear.
John used the word meno 33 times in his gospel. The English translation is ‘abiding with’, staying connected’ and ‘resting in’. The key to making the best of your life, the key to discovering your calling is to be with Jesus. As you stay with Him, you find out more about what he has in store for you. He knows your passions, your fears, and the deepest desires of your heart. As with Peter, Jesus knows your name. As with Nathaniel, he knows your nature. As with Philip, he knows your uncertainty.
Jesus knows who we are. But he also knows who we are becoming. He has a vested interest in seeing us flourish in the future. One for the great joys of reading the New Testametn is seeing how these flawed, fallible, and lost disciples grew into their calling, transforming from wandering fishermen into the founders of the early church through the empowering presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirity. And it all started with that first question, that first encounter: ‘what do you want?’