What was it that motivated Abram to get up and leave family and home for an uncertain future in an unknown place (Gen. 11:31—12:4)? What would motivate any of us to do that? What is it in us – emptiness, hunger, yearning, hope, frustration, dissatisfaction, aspiration – that would so complete and fulfill our life, we’d be willing to leave everything else behind to go after it?
The disciples felt it and “immediately” left everything – home, family, livelihood – to follow Jesus toward something … what (Mark 1:16-20)? The merchant in the parable was willing to sell everything he had to obtain one pearl of great value (Matt. 13:45-46). Thomas Merton had it in mind, I think, when he wrote, “If you want to identify me … ask me what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
It may not be possible at once to identify such a big goal, but like jigsaw addicts we can start assembling the pieces that will eventually form the picture of it. Here are three questions that might help us get started.
- What is your greatest need in life?
- What is your greatest hope?
- What is your most urgent question?
The true answers to these questions are probably not the ones that come quickly to mind. The true answers are probably several layers down and will need to be excavated patiently, perseveringly, and probably with great difficulty.