For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Our response to “how’d you play” usually generates a response in relation to the perception of our own abilities. To some, a 95 is a good day while others cast the round as an off-day if the score is above 75. Discontent and frustration ensue when we judge our performance based upon the scores of others. We may have a $1 bet on the line, but we primarily play golf for the enjoyment of the game itself, the outdoors, and time with our friends.
“Teddy” Roosevelt was quoted to say that, “comparison is the thief of joy.” When we are more concerned with comparison of ourselves to others, we invariable make an unfair comparison. We can judge our own performance (even if average) with someone with less skill to make ourselves feel better. Alternatively, we cause ourselves to feel inferior if we use a professional golfer as the measuring stick. In both cases, our desire to get better is quenched either because we feel we are already accomplished sufficiently or incapable of improvement.
Paul told the church at Galatia not to focus on pleasing man. Man cannot be pleased – our likes, dislikes, moods, needs, and wants are all dependent upon our current variable state. Most importantly, this pursuit is fruitless because we are not servants of man. Man can do nothing for our eternity. He can’t send us to either Heaven or Hell. Man has never done anything to secure our salvation, righteousness, or eternity.
Pleasing the pastor by bringing four visitors a couple Sundays ago and not missing a service this year for the sake of pleasing the pastor is futile. The pastor while appreciating your efforts may wonder why you didn’t bring five this Sunday or why you only brought three the Sunday before. The Holy Spirit guides and directs believers to have a desire to be pleasers of Christ. It is He who made the ultimate sacrifice freeing us from the bondages of sin, immune from disappointments of man and the wages of our sin. Notice how man acts in ways contrary to each of these bestowments. The world entices us with the lusts of our eyes, lusts of our flesh and the pride of life. Society and its pleasures seek to draw us away from Christ and spiritual growth. During this great time of “worldly” seclusion, let us use Christ as our barometer.