Week 30: Whom Are You Trying To Please?

Week 30: Whom Do You Want To Please?

Today’s Text: First Thessalonians 1-3

Key Text: First Thessalonians 2:1-5

“You know, brothers and sisters that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”

It’s a sad fact. Sometimes people are just going to question your motives.

Maybe people have gotten burned too many times. Maybe there are just too many out there saying “Watch your back! Don’t get taken!” Maybe it’s just the nature of living in a “dog eat dog” world.

For whatever reason, no matter what you do, some are bound to ask, “Hmmm, wonder what she’s up to? Wonder what he’s trying to pull?”

People questioned the work of the apostle Paul in just that way. Many opposed him, in many ways, some large, some small.

That’s why he could write about how he had “previously suffered” and how he had been “treated outrageously” in the past.

On the other hand, he could also write with great conviction about how God was using his work and his faith in very powerful ways. He could say, with equal conviction, he was doing what he did to be “approved by God” and not people. “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” That about says it all.

How about you? Whom are you trying to please? Are you doing your best to fulfill your calling, your vocation, or are you just trying to do what will help you “get ahead” by some worldly standard?

I hope you can honestly say that ultimately you are trying to live out your life of faith with one great purpose in mind – to bring honor and glory to God – the God who created you, loves you, and has called you into service.

This should be our calling – not just those of us called into formal “ordained” ministry – but all of us.

When all is said and done, whom are you trying please?

I hope it’s God.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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