Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 4: Year 2
“Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
Is there a difference between human approval and God’s approval? For the most part we have no problem discerning what people want of us. It’s a little bit different with God. People will come right out and tell you what they want or at least give strong hints. Perhaps God too often gives strong hints. One of my observances is that if something happens to me three times, or the same words while reading are put in front of me three times, it’s a hint from God. It then is a whole other matter if after I get the hint that I will follow where it leads. It’s much easier with people. If it’s self-serving on their part or immoral it’s an obvious no. God and God’s hints are always about the enhancement of the community. My way of validating that the hint is from God is that it will cost me time, money and be inconvenient and uncomfortable. I could add that it might cause me some degree of human disapproval.
I must admit, I am often a people pleaser. I need to work harder at knowing that I am a servant of Christ. Even better for me is to adopt the self-description that Gregory the Great used “Servant of the servants of God.” The same criterion could be used, that is to assist people who are clearly doing things that enhance life for the less fortunate. In such a way I would be pleasing to the serving people who are already pleasing our Lord Jesus. It will be a win – win.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John