by Pastor Vern Kratz
“…there’s a Pharisee inside all of us, and I suspect we’ll struggle with this as long as we live.” (Lance Witt)
This is a quote from a book that I read earlier this year that keeps coming back to mind and won’t leave me alone. I didn’t want to agree with it, but the more I think about it the more I realize that it is probably true. It’s just that some people deal with it better than others.
Jesus himself described the Pharisees with some very pointed words, “Everything they do is for people to see…” (Matthew 23:5) The Pharisees were known as hypocrites – they did a lot of good things, but with the wrong motives.
The Latin phrase “Esse quam videri” means “to be rather than appear to be.” We may do all the right things when there are others around to see us, and we may receive recognition or a pat on the back. But we need to make sure we have not done these things out of a wrong ambition. If we do anything just to hear the praise of people we will never find ourselves satisfied. It is more important that we be a person of good character rather than appear to be a person of good character.
It’s nice to feel appreciated and even applauded, but the smile that should matter most is the smile of God.
So what makes God smile?
I believe God smiles at us when we worship him. I believe God smiles when we spend time with him and his word. And I also believe God smiles whenever we make a right decision in life, no matter how big or how small. I believe God smiles when we reach out and lend a hand to someone in need. I believe God smiles when we share the truth of his word with someone else. But I also believe God smiles at the artist who spends time painting a beautiful picture. I believe God smiles when we take a moment to enjoy nature and his creation. I believe God smiles at the student who works hard on an assignment to get it in on time. I believe God smiles at the child who hits his first home run. I believe God smiles when we celebrate our birthday. I believe God smiles at us when we enjoy a delicious meal. I believe God smiles at us when we laugh and are relaxed in the company of good friends. I believe God smiles at a lot of the same things that we smile at. I believe God smiles when we just be who he desires us to be.
When we choose to live according God’s word and his purposes for our lives we make God smile.
What things are you going to do today that will make God smile?
That’s all that should really matter.