And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.Matthew 3:17
I am not alone in saying that children have an innate desire to please their parents. We may rebel from time to time, but we have a desire to hear that they are proud of us or thought we did well in whatever event it might be – even if it is the school play and we really only have a part in the choir with all of the other elementary school kids. We grow up and if we are privileged to have our parents around, we still like to hear that they are proud of us or that they are pleased with how we are living our life. We all long to hear those special words of affirmation, and we should long to hear those words when we take our last breath on this earth.
I remember growing up and scanning the field for my mom and seeing if she came to see me play. As I got older, I would come out of the locker room before a basketball game to see if my parents were in the stands. I would locate them and smile internally as I tried to remain cool about it. Their presence would cause me to play a little harder as I knew they were watching. I would hear my mom’s voice as she would sometimes get a little rowdy if she disagreed with a call or a play by the opposition. My mom would most often take me to my soccer games as I played on Saturdays, and she would most often tell me I did well after my games. I faced a tougher critic when my dad attended games, and the compliments did not flow out of him. He was much harder to please and if he gave you a compliment, you know you really did something great.
If I close my eyes, I can still hear him talking to me as he pushed me to be better even though I already thought I had done pretty well. I sometimes would practice after practice to work on my footwork, defense and condition hoping to level up and make an impression on him. I could not care less what my coach thought, but I did care what my dad thought and I hoped to impress him and have him say I did well. Compliments were hard earned from him and not taken lightly and just given away. There was no participation trophy, but if you wanted an “atta boy”, then you had to play like an “atta boy”. There was not a whole lot that I did that brought out compliments as I lived more in the department of disappointment. I was gifted a Bible the same day I was suspended from school. I got kicked out of school even though my mom and sister worked faithfully every week to help our class raise money for our senior trip. I never received academic awards, but I always got the one for perfect attendance, even though my teachers wished I was not there every day.
I cannot change what happened in the past and I cannot change my genetic structure, but I have learned that I can still honor my parents and I can still live to please my God. Every day He gives me is a day I can choose to live for Him and please Him. I am grateful for the many chances God gives His children, and I am grateful my parents did not disown me in the tough years. My desire the older I get is to please God, even though I fail many times over. I know if I please God then I will please my parents and honor them. I know more than half of my life is gone (if not more), and I know I will have to face my God. It is one thing to have your parents pleased with you, but it is quite another to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I do not want to regret the sin I committed and the opportunities I wasted in serving Him using the excuse that I was too busy or too tired. Life is short and my time will soon be up, just as yours will be.
What are you doing with the life God has given you? What impact are you having on eternity? What are you doing with the talents He has given you? Are you going through the motions of life or are you intentionally working to please your Father? If I could change the past I would, but I want to be a good steward of the years I have left. May we live to please the Father just as Jesus did as He heard the words of the heavenly Father. I want to live well to please my parents, but more than that, I want to please my Heavenly Father. What words do you want to hear when you close your eyes for the last time? God is always watching, so may we live like we believe it.