I was asked to play piano accompaniment for the Parent’s Day Out spring program at Little Flock this week. The little people prepared to sing and perform for their family and friends. It was fun practicing with them. Two-, three- and four-year-olds are just cute, whatever they do.
On the night of the program and graduation to kindergarten, the sanctuary was nearly full. There were parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles in the audience waiting for the children to parade in.
From my vantage point of the stage, sitting at the piano, I could see the audience well. A CD began to play the entrance music and the twos led the way down the aisle. Suddenly there were video cameras, flash cameras, and cell phones recording the event. Parents wanted to catch this moment and keep it forever.
As each age group climbed the stairs to the stage, teachers helped them get situated on the risers. I looked out at the faces in the audience, the faces of parents and grandparents whose eyes were on their particular child. They were focused, not wavering from the face of their very own offspring.
A thought came to me as I watched this scene unfold. Was this a picture of how focused God is on His children? His face is turned with pleasure toward those who call Him “Father.” These are the ones who have accepted the call to “Come unto me,” who have acknowledged their helplessness to make themselves holy enough, who are poor in spirit and seek the saving grace of Jesus. God’s face is upon them with joy, with love, with complete acceptance.
The parents in the audience that night were thrilled at the simple accomplishments of their children. Simply climbing the stairs and standing still was a big deal. Clapping on rhythm and getting the words to the song right was an accomplishment. Singing on key was an achievement.
None of the children were reciting the preamble to the constitution, or singing a solo of the Star Spangled Banner, or preparing to amaze the crowd with mathematical equations. These were just children doing childish things. And their parents were delighted with them. Love and pride were written all over their faces.
How often do we think we have to do great things for God to get His approval? We often work really hard hoping He will be happy with our efforts.
Truth is He loves us just as we are – completely human, in all our frailty, utterly clay.
The only way we ever accomplish big things is because of His exceedingly great power working in and through us. Even the fruits we are to bear, things like love, joy, peace, goodness, and longsuffering are a result of abiding in Christ. He creates the fruit in us while we dwell in Him.
Perhaps we frustrate ourselves by trying too hard, trying to be good enough, strong enough, humble enough, spiritual enough so we will be worthy of God’s approval of our efforts. The problem with that theory is we never are . . . enough.
What a relief that God simply loves me, has this unimaginable passion for my soul. He planned for me before Adam and Eve ever walked in the garden.
I think Psalm 139 expresses it well:
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.
You have encircled me;
You have placed Your hand on me.
This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. (verses 2-3, 5-6)
The Bible, God’s very own words, tell us what we are to do, how we are to live our lives to please Him.
When someone asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He didn’t hesitate in telling them these simple yet profound words:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Even that kind of love must come from God’s own heart, poured into ours, so we can love Him and others, and thus please Him.
Have you struggled, trying to please God? I’d like to hear your comments.