Spiritual Director · April 20, 2017

Devote #16

Who are we pleasing?

In some areas of my life, I’m stingy – very stingy. Let me see if I can elaborate to help you understand. I some areas I would consider myself chintzy… tightfisted… curmudgeonly… sparing. Hopefully that helps you. If not let me elaborate some more.

When our family goes out to eat, everybody else wants to know what everybody is ordering so that they all order different things and then they share each other’s meal. How weird is that?

I, on the other hand, withhold my order until it’s time to share it and I generally don’t share my meal, nor do I want anybody else’s meal. I want mine. It’s why I ordered what I ordered. My family thinks I’m a little weird, miserly and selfish when it comes to this aspect of life.

Another area of my life that I reservedly use is, applauding – you know.. Clapping your hands. I’m not talking about giving someone a compliment. I freely give words of affirmation for a job well done. I like to encourage people for using their gifts to better my life. But I’m talking about the physical act of slapping our two hands together to magnify another person’s effort. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good performance or skill, it’s just that I try to keep my adulation for One – God. I figure if anybody deserves to be applauded it would have to be our great God. And most often we as the church don’t ever applaud Him. We applaud everything else, but we seem to think it’s almost irreligious to give God our praise by clapping our hands.

Maybe, the problem is, we don’t know how to show appreciation for all that He’s done for us. However, we don’t seem to have a problem showing that same appreciation and excitement and enthusiam for the works of man. I just think it’s a little backwards, so I mainly only clap my hands for my Savior God.

The reason this little outburst came out is because of what I read in the Word this morning. Here it is…

“Don’t eat too much honey or always want praise.” —Proverbs 25:27

It says in Proverbs 25:16 – “Eating too much honey can make you sick.” If that’s true, “always wanting praise,” can do the same. “Always wanting praise” will make you reliant on the verbiage of others and make you sick. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and mentally because we become so reliant on having to hear how good we are.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Know that you and I play to the audience of One – Jesus. He is the One who watches over us day and night. He is always speaking His love and truth to us. He is always telling us how much He loves us and desires to be near us. Let His praise of you, suffice your daily needs.

Help me find satisfaction in You and offer You my applause. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.