Great Impression

…live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. –Colossians 1:10

Although the words “cat fan” will never make it to my resume under “hobbies,” I was engrossed watching an online video of a kitty opening a laundry room door to escape. I am easily impressed.

Equally impressive to the acrobatic feline was a preschool-aged girl I saw hunkered down, ogling over a hot dog covered in ketchup, mustard, and a tight row of raw onions. I stared, expecting the girl to unleash a fit of rage when she took a bite of her hot dog and the rough, onion taste bit her back; however, as she chewed, the edges of her mouth turned upward in a satisfied grin. She leaned back into her chair to chew in utter content and satisfaction. I continued to stare out of shock. Had the authorities been in close range I would have been arrested for overstepping my gawking boundaries.

Raw onions would never happen in our house.

“I am so impressed that she likes raw onions,” I said to the mother, noting her concern for my gaze. “I have always given them to her so she has always eaten them,” she replied. I shook my head in disbelief as my kids sat eating their cheese pizza leaving the crust on the plate because it is “gross” and picking the “burnt bubbles” off the top of the cheese. Admittedly, that gene was passed down from my side of the family. Burnt cheese bubbles taste terrible.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells stories about people who seemed to impress Him. Jesus is smitten over the widow who gives the last of her coins, the faith of a centurion who asks Jesus to “say the word” and his servant will be healed, and the pack of determined friends who get their injured comrade through a roof and in front of Jesus to be healed. These people do simple acts with mighty faith. They are unrecognized, unassuming, and unpretentious. They do the right thing, not the impressive thing.

Although it is impossible to impress God, it is not impossible to please Him. Simple acts of faith, obedience, sacrifice, submission, and love please God. He loves when we serve others without needing recognition, act lovingly without setting off lights and sirens, and when we give anonymously.

Pleasing God should come naturally, but it does not. Impressing others should never matter, but it does. When we learn to please God and to neglect our need to astound others, peace will ensue. And even if you are old enough to have acquired a taste for raw onions, I probably wouldn’t be too impressed unless you were eating them while riding a unicycle around an ice-skating rink while holding a hedgehog. That’s impressive.

GOING DEEPER:
1. In what ways have you become too satisfied with impressing others instead of pleasing God?

2. What are some specific ways you can please God this week?

FURTHER READING:
Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1

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Linda Vujnov

Linda lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and four children. After a career as an elementary school teacher Linda joined the staff of Saddleback Church, Irvine as the Children’s Ministry director. She is the author of Spilt Milk, a blogger, jogger, and huge fan of ice cream.

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