Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What Do You Seek?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this question, "What do you seek?" Most of us probably have not even given it much thought. But it's an important question and one that we should all clarify for ourselves.

When John and Andrew first saw Jesus they cried out "Behold! The Lamb of God!" (John 1:36) When He began to leave they followed Him. Jesus seeing that He was being followed asked of them this question. He called to them, "What do you seek?"  How do you suppose they responded?  It was Him, the "Lamb of God" that they sought. They then said, "where are you staying," wanting to be with Him and learn from Him. They were seeking spiritual truths, not a way to enhance their fishing careers or a way to heal a broken relationship. They followed Him knowing He had what they were seeking.

Now let's imagine that Jesus asked the same question today to a Christian.  How would they respond? Would they say, "It is You we seek, our Lord?"  Or would they answer with something else? Would they even recognize Him as the "Lamb of God?" Or, would they see Him simply as another self-help guru or one promoting worldly success.

Bishop Augoustinos of Florina writes as follows:
If the Lord were to pose the same question to today's Christains, how would they reply? Would we answer, "Lord, it is You we seek?" Is the Lord our fervent desire? Is the salvation of our souls a great concern: Is his Kingdom the first thing we fervently seek?
Most likely we would answer from the perspective of the problems we face in this world. When I ask this question in our church classes, I usually get an answer like, "I want to provide a good life for my children," or "I want to be successful in my work," or "I seek to have peace of mind," and so forth. Few answer indicating any concern about their salvation.

Bishop Aufoustinos of Florina agrees,
If we frankly answered the Lord's question, our answers would express the abysmal desires of this world. We seek money fame and glory, sexual gratification. We seek joys and good times. We seek the demise of our enemies. The search for what is most precious, the pearl of great price, in today's materialistic, cold society is a rare thing indeed.
For most of us, our Lord and God is not foremost in our minds. We need to ask ourselves, How do we elevate the place of our Lord and Savior amidst our worldly priorities? How do we integrate the needs we face in this world and what we truly must seek, our loving relationship with our God, our salvation and eternal life in His kingdom?

My Dad is now 98 years old. For most of his life he has sought success through his profession in the legal world earning him the high ranking position of a Federal Judge. But now, none of that matters to him. He spends most of his time working crossword and Sudoko puzzles and watching old movies. He says to me, "I have nothing important to accomplish now. I am glad to arise each morning and have another day. So what has he gained in his fame and hard work? He now recognizes how his past efforts will not help him in the final days of his life. He says, that now he thinks more about God. But now it's hard for him to focus on developing that all important relationship with God.

Keep in mind the way the Apostles were called and how they gave up everything to follow Jesus. They must have been seeking answers to spiritual things before they met Jesus. Like them, if we expect to follow Him we too must give priority to seeking spiritual things in our way of life.

Attend the Church services, develop a daily prayer life, read the Scripture and works of our Fathers instead of spicy novels or watching mind numbing TV serials or cape news programs, develop questions about your faith and seek answers, follow the fasting guidelines, prepare and participate in the sacraments regularly,  and find a spiritual Father who can guide you. If you do these things you will find yourself seeking what is most important in your life. This will not take away from your life but enhance it giving everything greater meaning. To do this requires changes in your way of life. Do not be afraid to experiment with reallocating your time to give greater priority to matters of Spirit.

Reference: Follow Me, by Augoustinos N. Kantiotes, Bishop of florin, Greece, pp 25-26.

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