But it can happen that an important concept for improvement arises right at this time of year. And it's probably not a coincidence. We hear lots of encouragement for improvement as the calendar turns over. Especially from the pulpit.
So this past Sunday, our pastor was teaching from Proverbs 3. And as he came to verses 5 and 6, a different twist emerged. Well, for me at that moment it was a little different.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.So here's the question I was dealing with: who do I want to please? Oh, I'm a people pleaser. Big time. I want everybody to be happy. My father. My sisters. My nephew. My nieces. My brothers-in-law. My friends. My boss. My co-workers. On and on it goes. All of them, happy at the same time.
Yeah, right. That's going to happen.
So here's the point Pastor Tim was making from the passage: Trusting in God and acknowledging him in all my ways is a much better path than trusting in my family, friends, and colleagues. If I am going to have a straight unwavering path to the life I'm meant to live, I can't live for them, to please them. I need to live to please one person.
Me, right? Ricky Nelson sang that he learned his lesson: you can't please everyone so you have to please yourself. Wrong - that's a dead end too. The only straight path in this life, the only path that leads to life is to live to please God.
An audience of one - my Creator and Redeemer. Live to please him and everything else falls into place.
So, as the new year begins (coincidentally, of course), I pray that I may clean out the clutter. The clutter of trying to make everyone happy.
I mean, every Jesus couldn't do that. Religious leaders thought he partied too much and hung out with the wrong crowd, his family tried to get him to stop stirring up trouble, and the people ended up crying out for him to be crucified. But he lived in perfect harmony with his Father, that audience of one. And that's all that mattered.
So I'm listening not for the applause of the masses, but for that single hand clap. May I hear it loud above the roar of the crowd.