man or christ: a pleasing choice
"If I were trying to win man's approval, I would surely not be serving Christ!" —Galatians 1:10
On my desk is a quote from Ethel Barrett: "We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do." Pleasing people just doesn't often work. What pleased people last month infuriates them today. How enslaving it is to try to please people — especially people who don't often think of us!
Far more important, however, is the corollary to the above quote: "If we realized how often Jesus thinks of us, we would be absorbed with thinking of Him." Jesus died for your sins and mine. He has even "written your name" on the palms of His nail-scarred hands (Is 49:16). If the Lord forgot about us for even a moment, we would stop breathing and die. We would cease to be! How freeing it is to have a Master Who loves us totally! In His love for us, God has even made known to us in His word what pleases Him (Bar 4:4).
The amazing thing is that when we decide to please the Lord rather than people, God can bless us in the sight of people. "When the Lord is pleased with a man's ways, He makes even his enemies be at peace with him" (Prv 16:7).
Let's not straddle the fence of trying to please both God and man (see 1 Kgs 18:21). We cannot serve both God and man (see Mt 6:24). "Decide today whom you will serve" — God or man (Jos 24:15). May you choose to please the Lord, and serve Him with gladness (Ps 100:2).
Prayer: Father, may my life be pleasing to You (Ps 104:34). May I be pleased to be known as Your disciple.
Promise: "The works of His hands are faithful and just; sure are all His precepts." —Ps 111:7
Praise: St. Francis chose serving God rather than the world. He was often insulted publicly for his life of prophetic poverty and he would respond with a blessing (see Lk 6:28).
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 30, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 1, 2004