And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”Matthew 12:49-50
Perhaps it’s not as hard as it seems.
As someone who loved God, growing up, I always struggled with answering such questions:
What is God’s will for my life?
Where should I go?
What profession should I take up?
What country should I live in?
The resounding question on my heart is “What does it mean to do the will of God?” Yet something here in gospels illuminates my heart that perhaps the answer to the question is not as hard as it seems.
In this passage, someone interrupts Jesus and tells him, “Your mother and brother and sisters are outside waiting for you.” Jesus, never missing an opportunity to help people get closer to the kingdom of God, points to his disciples and says, “These are my mother and brother and sisters.” He then says, “Whoever does the will of God is my mother and brother and sisters.”
In that moment, Jesus declared a few powerful things. First, that his disciples are his family. That’s amazing. If you’re following Jesus, then Jesus calls you family. But the second implication is pertinent to the question at hand. In calling them family, he also implies that they are doing the will of God.
Think about this for a minute.
Are the disciples really doing the will of God right now? Typical to how we expect to answer the question for ourselves, the disciples do not seem to be ones who are doing the will of God. In this example, they don’t even know what they are doing! They are a scraggly collection of ragamuffins, sailors and fishermen, tax collectors and zealots. They have not done anything. All they have been doing is following Jesus around, listening to his teachings, and having an open heart.
And in that moment, we realize, maybe that’s it.
Maybe that’s all there is to “doing the will of God”. Perhaps it’s not so much about doing these grand and clear assignments. Perhaps, like this ragamuffin group of disciples, to do the will of God is simply to stay close to Jesus and await his next command. Like them, it’s simply living in the unknown, uncertain of where Jesus will take us next. But rather, our commitment is simply to stay as close to Jesus as possible.
I think that’s what it means to do the will of God.
Do you wrestle with understanding what God’s will is for your life? Don’t focus on answering that question with wondering and thinking about what you’re going to do. Rather, like the disciples in this passage, just stay close to Jesus, and you’ll find that Jesus will declare over your life: “This one is doing my will!”