I know that it may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you, but I can be an extremely competitive person. Fortunately, over the years God has mellowed me. Yet, this past Saturday morning I felt the beast rise again. My oldest daughter, Micaela, is in kindergarten and is playing her first year of Upward Basketball. Now for you to really grasp the gravity of this situation you must know that I am an incredible basketball fanatic. I can even watch those crazy European leagues with the trapezoid shaped lanes. So here I am watching my daughter experience her first tastes of pseudo-competitive basketball, and I discover my blood pressure rising. Understand I am not mad or frustrated with her, but I want to go out and show her how things should be done, where she should be, what she should be doing, etc. While my mind is running on the question of how can I teach her to become better, the minds of the kids (my daughter included) is simply on having fun. Mentally, I was coaching up a team. The reality was that I should have been laughing my head off since all the kids were running around like a herd of squirrels in a nut farm.
John Piper writes in his classic book, Desiring God, that our purpose is to enjoy God forever. The older I get the more I am convinced that Piper may not be far off. You see, I believe that we all do much the same thing as I was trying to do with my daughter. She was simply enjoying the fun of being able to run around and chase a ball with friends. She had not desire to understand the finer points of the game. She had no desire to be best basketball player in the gym. She simply wanted to have fun. I wonder how our lives might be different if we lived our lives with the simple focus of enjoying our relationship with Jesus instead of focusing on all the fine points of theology, all the lists of what we should and shouldn’t be doing, and all the things we think others expect of us. To be sure, we need to know theology. We need to live out our faith. But what would happen if we did so not out of a fear of what others might think but simply because we were enjoying our relationship with Jesus. What if we spent time in prayer, not because we know we should, but because we simply enjoy being in God’s presence. What if we told others about Jesus, not because the pastor told us to, but because we simply cannot help but talk about the One who loves us so much. What if we do what we do out of a love for Jesus rather than out of obligation. How would our lives change? How would our churches change? How would our worship change? Imagine that, a simple purpose to enjoy God forever. Sounds a lot better than any substitute. Sounds a lot like what we will do in heaven for all eternity. Sounds a lot like what we should be about.