At church, an interesting observation dawned upon me. During the sermon, a verse stayed with me. It was Galatians 1:10, I have been reading the New Living Translation and find it fascinating, “obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
While listening to the sermon, my mind drifted. I began thinking about another passage I came across while reading over the Bible. Philippians 2:3 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” It is interesting that we mustn’t take too much interests in ourselves, “but take an interest in others” while “not trying to win the approval of people.”
What an interesting mission this is. We must be willing to pursue the interests of others so that we can build better relationships and administer each other. However, we cannot become self centered, seeking the praise of those we help and our community. It is not the intent to please others with the end result of pleasing ourselves or fulfilling some self-serving motive. We are to please God in our good deeds and works seeking no further approval than the grace and love of God.
A friend of mine had a different take on the two verses. That attempting to be humble cannot have a place when trying to help others, that the passages provide a double standard for people to live by. How can we seek the satisfaction of God, remaining a true servant of Christ, while not pleasing people at the same time taking interest in them?
Taking another look at this version, I can see the intent of what my friend was thinking. I even understand the level of reasoning behind it. But I do not think that is what the passages meant. You see, I think we are meant to look upon each other as brothers and sisters. Our lives are too short and we each share in this fate. We should pursue good works with the time we have in our company to make the world a better place to live. One of mutual trust and understanding. The only line drawn in the sand is that we don’t do this for selfish reasons, not to please others. But to remain humble, seeking only affection for one another and the grace of God.