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Pleasing God

“If we displease God, does it matter whom we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease?”

Leonard Ravenhill

“If it’s not productive, it’s a waste of time.” I unconsciously believed and lived by this lie for most of my life. I could have been twins with Martha of Bethany. I too was always busy doing. I strived to please Jesus and people by doing things as a way to gain acceptance. I wanted to be noticed, to receive an approving nod or words of affirmation, so that I would feel okay about myself. Doing and keeping busy only fed my pride.

Recently I read the Martha-Mary passage in Luke 10:38-42. This time I was struck by the irony that Martha, the one who was consumed with doing, did not receive praise from Jesus. He wasn’t impressed with all her hospitable efforts. Unlike our culture today, who hands out brownie points for great performance, Jesus did not affirm Martha. Rather, He praised her sister Mary.

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet. She listened to what Jesus said. No performance mentality here. Mary simply sat, listened to Jesus’ voice, and received His affirmation. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) Mary knew her relationship with Jesus was more important than performing for Jesus. She chose to be with Him over busyness for Him.

The world affirms doing while God affirms being.

The world affirms productivity while God affirms matters of the heart.

The world affirms performance while God affirms relationship with Him as top priority.

All of our striving and doing won’t get us the affirmation we desire from Jesus. It’s when we’re sitting at His feet, listening to His voice, we’re commended. Though the culture measures our worth by how much we accomplish, Jesus values us because we’re His sons and daughters. I’m special not because of my achievements, but because I belong to God. No longer do I need to try and impress God with my performance. Instead, my relationship with Him is more important than what I can do for Him.

Like Paul, in II Corinthians 5:9a, I make it my goal to please God, not by performing through productive activity, but through my presence with Him.

“I would rather please God and have a few people upset with me, than to please people and have God upset with me.”


Relevant Reflections:

1. Are you more busy doing for God than being with God?

2. How do you try to please God?

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