Strive to Please God

Strive to Please God

“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, This is the
 way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.”
Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

            I figured I was an adequate, if conventional, Christian. Church on Sunday. Pledged annually. Ate pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. (Even helped cook them!) No spiritual fireworks, but also no thunderous warnings.

            I had a satisfactory career in management ending up in the banking business. When the rector heard I was a “banker,” his eyes lit up, and I was recruited into parish leadership. (Little did he know, the bank never let me near the money… I was in operations and marketing!) But I was soon on the Finance Committee, Treasurer, indeed Stewardship Chairman. Even got on the Diocesan Finance Committee. I found myself hearing more about, and being asked to preach about tithing, and that started to worry me.

            I thought I was contributing appropriately. But wasn’t I being hypocritical in preaching tithing and not doing it? And ten percent off the top? That’s a scary commitment. My conscience (read “LORD,” I’m sure) kept pestering, so I decided I needed to give tithing a try. If the family faced starvation, I could always back off.

            After a while, it dawned on me that I was meeting all the bills with plenty left over. And after that rather pedestrian revelation, I began seeing that there were other unexpected good things happening. Coincidences?

            I finally put it together. There are no coincidences. What we call “coincidences” are actually God’s surprises to encourage us in our choice of direction. As I tried to get more in communication with Him and chose to follow His lead, I found I received one Godly surprise after another!

            A wonderful prayer in Thoughts in Solitude, by American Trappist monk, author, theologian and poet Thomas Merton, says:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going…But I believe that the desireto please you does in fact please you… And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it… Therefore I will trust you always… for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

            Merton’s insight and all those “coincidences” have convinced me that every time we strive to please God, He is pleased and, in response, He sends us surprises to encourage us to continue to choose the paths that bring us closer to Home, closer to Him. 

            Praise the Lord!  David Pfaff