Do we, really? In a retail environment, the salesperson certainly wants to please the customer. In work, we want to please our Boss. At home, pleasing the spouse isn’t even a choice- you’d better!
But what about pleasing God? Do we put as much effort into pleasing God as we do to please people more “directly” influencing our lives? Maybe I should say more “visibly” influencing our lives, since God is in charge of everything and influences our lives from before we are even born, but He is invisible and people are visible; they are tangible and always in sight. Not in spiritual sight, but in physical sight; God is in the heavens but people are where we are.
In my experience I have seen people who do almost anything for someone that they believe can help them attain what they want in the world, but they are pretty much cavalier about pleasing God. Don’t they realize that what they have in the world, no matter how much of it they own, will be someone else’s when they die? That point is well made in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes.) Then they will only have the treasure they have already stored in heaven to spend eternity with. Think about it: would you rather live in a mansion for 30 years and a shack forever, or would you rather have a humble home for 30 years and a mansion forever?
I would like to offer an excerpt from my book (to buy the book, hardcover or downloadable, see the right margin) that briefly discusses how to please God. If you find this interesting or useful to you, please consider buying the book.
“Then tell me how to please the Lord”, you may ask. Sorry, but I will not tell you what to do, or (for that matter) what not to do. That would make me just like a religion. What I will tell you is what the Lord tells us. And the Lord tells us that to please Him we must obey His commandments. I will give you 2 places where He does this, although He tells and shows us this throughout the entire Bible. The places I will mention are in the Tanakh and in the B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant).
In the Tanakh go to Deuteronomy 28. This is the chapter where God gives us the listing of His blessings for obedience. You can see He blesses us going in and out, home and away, pretty much 24/7/365. Clearly, obedience pleases Him. The other place is in the Gospels where Yeshua (Jesus) tells us that if we love Him we will obey His commandments. Everyone is pleased by having people they love show that love back to them, and Yeshua is telling us that showing our love for Him (which must please Him) is through obedience.
Yeshua makes it even easier to demonstrate obedience. He tells us that the two most important commandments are to love the Lord and to love our neighbor. If we simply do this than everything else falls into place.
For the record, this isn’t a new idea. Yeshua was quoting Tanakh; in fact, there is nothing “new” in the “New Covenant”. It is all strictly and completely from Torah and the other Old Covenant writings. Every single reference Shaul makes, as well as John and James (Ya’akov), is from the only scripture that existed at that time, which is the Tanakh.
So there it is. How do we please our God? Simple- follow His commandments. That’s it. He doesn’t say to follow all the regulations and traditions that the religion to which we belong adds or takes from His word. He simply says do as He says. He even tells us that what we should do is not so hard to do. It is not so far away that we need someone to bring it to us, or so deep we can’t see it, or so high we can’t reach it. He says it is right in front of us, within our grasp. True, we can’t do everything as He wants us to do it; we are sinners and we are sinful, and our very nature makes living a perfect life impossible. That’s why He promised a Messiah. But Hey!, that’s no reason not to try!
Brothers and Sisters, please hear me now: God has no religion. His Word, His commandments, His Blessings, His House of Worship, His Messiah and His Salvation is for ALL people! Just as His judgment will be on ALL people.
I think it is important to remember, especially, that last sentence: His judgement will be on ALL people! And that judgement will be based on our heart and our actions, but it will not be based on what others tell us is right or wrong.
You need to understand (and I believe the Bible supports me in this) that God will judge fairly and rightly, but what He judges us on will be what we did and not on what others told us to do. That means if the Rabbi, Priest, Pastor, or whomever leads your religious organization tells you to do something that is contrary to God’s command, you will be responsible for your actions. And using that old, “I was just following orders” excuse won’t carry water with the Lord. He told us how he wants us to worship Him, how we should treat each other, what is important and what isn’t. And if you aren’t sure how to tell what is important and what isn’t, I will make it easy for you: if it is in the Bible, it is important. And, if it is important you had better know about it, right? So read the book! Don’t be a dope and just believe what anyone tells you the book says- read it for yourself. Read it for yourself because you will be held accountable for what is in it!
Think about that: in fact, don’t waste time thinking, just do. Read the Bible, start today. Only a chapter a day: do it at lunch, do it when you get home, do it before you get ready for work. Or do what I do- keep your Bible in the bathroom. No one bothers me there, and I have a guaranteed 10 minutes or so of quiet.
Please please God first, then people, if you must, but not at the expense of pleasing God. I think you wil lfind that if you concentrate on pleasing the Lord you will be surprised at how much more you will be pleasing to people.