Did I Do Well?
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” II Peter 1:16-17
As far back as I can remember playing sports, I was always looking to see if my parents were watching me. When I would run onto a soccer field or basketball court, I would always look to where my parents were seated. I always played a little harder when I saw they were watching me, and I wanted them to be impressed with me. I wanted to play well enough to get praise from them, although my mom was much easier to please than my dad.
I remember after one game in particular in which I thought I had played fairly well. I've always had an inflated opinion of myself and this day was no different. I hopped into the truck and could not wait to hear the praise my dad would surely shower on me. I asked him with a sheepish grin, "So, how do I do, dad?" He looked over at me and immediately began to critique my play as if he wrote for the local sports column. My little-boy grin turned to anger and I did not like what I was hearing. I wanted to defend myself, but didn't really have a leg to stand on. He said, "You were not even aggressive out there and you let everyone beat you to the ball." I looked at him, angry and puzzled, and retorted, "I heard you yelling at me to be aggressive, but I don't even know what that means." My young vocabulary was not one that used these exuberant words, and I needed him to tell me in layman's terms what he was talking about.
He then explained to me what aggressive meant, and the light bulb turned on in my head. The next game I came out like I was possessed and determined to make every one pay. I did not want to hear my dad yell out, "Be aggressive!" I played that game like it was my last and I was too exhausted to even ask my dad how I did. I honestly did not want to be humbled, and I just wanted to jump in the shower and relax. We got into the truck and he looked over at me and said, "Good game son, that is what I mean about being aggressive." I was shocked when he said these words as my dad did not hand out compliments very often. He was not from the "everyone is a winner" era and to get praise from him, you had to earn it. After that, I felt like I could float away on a cloud home, and it drove me to do my best every time I stepped onto the field or court.
I think of our Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for us. God gave Jesus a mission that would involve humbling of Himself and lead to a brutal death for our sins. The Son was always about the Father's business and lived every moment of His life to be pleasing to the Father. Jesus' time on earth was not spent in secret, but was witnessed by many who even heard the Father verbally praise the Son. The Father was well pleased with the obedience of the Son and voiced His approval so others could hear. I worked hard to hear the praise of my earthly dad, but how much more should I desire to hear the praise of my Heavenly Father! The praise that comes when we live in obedience to Him. Praise that comes with great price, and a praise that shows a surrendered life to the Father's will.
Do you long to hear the words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant"? Are you living a life that is surrendered to the Father's will, or do you seek your own plans and ambitions? Do you strive to hear the cheering of the world, or do you strive to hear the praise of your Heavenly Father? Praise from the Father does not come from living a lukewarm life, but a life that is fully surrendered to the Father's will. Will He be pleased with what you do today? Will He be honored with how you live your life? Time is short and one day - sooner than we think - we will see Him face to face. What will He say to you on that day? Will He be pleased with you or will you be ashamed for how you lived your life? Run the race well and strive to please Him and hear His words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."
Stay in the fight!