While writing to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul puts life into perspective. “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body of away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:9-10) How do we please God?
We please God when we exercise faith in prayer. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
We please God when we meet the needs of people. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)
We please God when we are offered to him as “living sacrifices.” “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
We please God when we intercede for others, including those in government. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)
In all of these actions we demonstrate that we are keeping our focus on “the big picture.” When we pray and support others we are focused on God’s will. The world would like for me to be focused on my own will. That translates into the accumulation of possessions and pleasures. The Bible tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:3)
NPR reported last year about Alan Naiman who died of cancer at 63. He left most of his estate to a variety of charities serving children with various needs. This came as no surprise to his friends, who knew him as a frugal yet generous soul. They just didn’t realize exactly howgenerous. That’s because the charitable windfall that Naiman orchestrated from beyond the grave was more than a few thousand dollars—it totaled over $11 million. Though he never married or had kids, Naiman was known to work extra jobs, scrimp on expenses, and invest here and there, eschewing the kind of extravagant spending that other people in his income bracket regularly enjoyed. “Growing up as a kid with an older, disabled brother kind of colored the way he looked at things,” said close friend Susan Madsen. That brother passed away in 2013. Most of the organizations that received donations were ones in which he’d made contact over the years while serving the state Department of Social and Health Services for over two decades, handling calls after regular hours. Among them are the Pediatric Interim Care Center which serves babies of mothers in drug addiction, Treehouse Foster Care, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, which provides horse therapy for disabled people, and WestSide Baby, which distributes care supplies for low-income families with babies and small children. He could have purchased expensive cars and an expensive home. But he sacrificed so much that he was able to give away millions.
Jesus said, “‘…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40) Let’s keep the big picture and please God!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.