top of page
Dr. Stackhouse's blog has moved to as of August 2023 visit there for the latest posts and news!
  • Writer's pictureJohn Stackhouse

Give God What He Wants

“Did you have a good Christmas?” Kids know how to interpret that question. It means, “How was your haul? Did you get everything you wanted from Santa?”

I wonder if God had a good Christmas. I wonder if he got what he wanted.

If not, maybe he waited for New Year’s Eve to hear what resolutions we would make for 2009 and see if those held any promise for him.

So, a few days after New Year’s, do you think God got what he wanted—from you, from me?

Hello. My name is John and I am a careeroholic.

(Those of you who suffer similarly are now supposed to say, “Hi, John!” from the circle of shared affliction and failure.)

I have had reason recently to update and send out a c.v. I love doing that. Look at those lines of type, each signifying something I did. Accomplishments. Triumphs. Awards. VICTORI—


But if I am honest, I do tend to measure out my life, not in coffee spoons, but in résumé entries.

And I have every intention of honoring God in 2009 the same way, by doing more stuff as a Public Christian Scholar Guy, adding yet more lines of type to my c.v. soli deo gloria, and praying Salieri’s prayer that God will make me great so that I can give great glory to him.

More articles, more speeches, more courses, more books, more blog entries—a veritable river of words, all meant to give God what he wants most: a successful professional career for me. I mean, that’s what he’s called me to do, so surely that’s what he wants.

Hmm. When I put it like that, it doesn’t ring quite true, does it?

“With what shall I come to Yhwh and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does Yhwh take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil?”

God did tell Israel he wanted them to sacrifice animals and oil and such. So what is the prophet Micah saying? That God doesn’t care about them after all? Does he want more? What more can one give?

“Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

Does he want me to give up my family, too, the other site of my accomplishment as I take pride in my wonderful three sons? What does God want? How can he want more than a dedicated career and a properly raised family?

“He has told you, O man, what is good.”

Oh. So I’m supposed to know already?

“And what does Yhwh”—that is, what does this particular deity, rather than the “god” of one’s own fond imagination and aspiration—”require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

That is: to try to make right whatever I come across that is wrong; to add goodness to every situation beyond what is strictly required; and to live each moment circumspectly, recognizing who is God and who isn’t.

That’s not new. That’s not surprising. It’s pretty basic. I already knew that.

And that’s what God wants. Do that, and the thousands of words and the rivers of good deeds will come on their own, flowing out like living water from a soul properly connected to and wide open to the divine flow.

It’s time to stop blogging now and go back to revise a couple of those New Year’s resolutions . . .


Want more content on apologetics, theology, epistemology, ethics, culture, and discipleship?


ThinkBetter Media  was created by Professor Stackhouse to provide accessibleinformed, balanced, and practical Christian insight and direction around crucial issues in contemporary culture.

Start a two-week free trial of our Sustainer memberships.

bottom of page