Summary: How do we please God? By regularly examining our motives and priorities against God’s standards.
Recently someone in our congregation shared a photocopy of an article from the May 13, 1955 (that’s right, 1955) issue of Housekeeping Monthly entitled The Good Wife’s Guide that feature tips on how to please their husbands when they come home from work. Here are some excerpts:
• Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.
• Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
• Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
• Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel that he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
• Prepare the children. Take a few moments to wash the children’s hands and face (if they are small), comb their hair, and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
• Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
• Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
We laugh, we snicker, and we moan at this list because these suggestions of how to please a husband sounds foreign to our 21st century ears that have listened to a far different view of family life than was suggested over 49 years ago.
How much of our time is spent on pleasing our spouses these days? How much is spent on pleasing our children? How often do we think of pleasing people? Isn’t it safe to say that pleasing others is not the high priority that it once was. Pleasing seems these days to be more self-focused than other focused.
Maybe the word “pleasing” is an emotional term that carries with it a lot of baggage that we would rather leave behind. Perhaps our term for today is serving others. But is serving and pleasing others the same thing?
What about pleasing God? Do we have the same view and hold the same feeling toward pleasing God as we do of pleasing others?
We are going to spend 8 of the next 11 Sundays looking at ways of pleasing God because it is important to please God and pleasing God is a very good and proper thing to do.
This morning we are going to look at one way of pleasing God – by examining our motives and our priorities against God’s standards and expectations for us as His people. And I would have each of us remember that what applies to us individually also applies to us a church as well.
Our text for today is actually a selection of verses from the opening chapters of Revelation, specifically chapters 2 and 3, which contain words of affirmation and words of warning to seven churches. (Really the people who are those seven churches). We will look at only three today.
Our first stop is at Revelation 2:2-5:
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first.”
God is talking to a group of believers who were very conscientious about making sure that the faith was spoken clearly and that those who professed the Christian faith also lived out that profession very clearly and honestly. This was a church that could smell liars and dishonest people a mile away. That pleased God and He let them know that it pleased Him!