Pleasing vs Enjoying

 Let us learn, therefore, to be men of wisdom and to honour Christ as he desires. For a person being honoured finds greatest pleasure in the honour he desires, not in the honour we think best. Peter thought he was honouring Christ when he refused to let him wash his feet; but what Peter wanted was not truly an honour, quite the opposite!  - St. John Chrysostom

 Drawing by Eric Carpenter

Drawing by Eric Carpenter

Some months ago I heard a marriage counselor speak at Hope Chapel on the topic of sexuality. He presented an idea which has changed the way I relate to God, and to my husband as well. He began by posing this question to the men. "What is more exciting and fulfilling to you as a lover - having your wife work hard to please you, or knowing she really enjoys your touch?" The answer is clear.  We all want to be enjoyed more than we want to be pleased.

The problem with trying to please a person is that we can never truly know when we succeed.  We cannot get inside another person's head.  But we are fully aware of our own pleasure, and we can communicate that.

God is a Lover.  Scripture says so.  Jesus became a man to woo, to win and cleanse a Bride. There is no more romantic story than that! As a Bridegroom, Jesus delights when we enjoy His presence, just as He loved Mary's attention when she sat at His feet in Bethany.  Mary chose what was best for her, certainly, but also what Jesus most desired.  This is what He still desires - the affection of the Beloved.

Of course there are many ways to honor and please our Lord.  Jesus is not only a Bridegroom. He is our Lord, our Teacher, our Savior and our Brother.  It is right that we should serve Him with the work of our hands, as Martha did.  In fact, this practical labor will serve as a basis for judgment. Jesus tells us that whoever feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, cares for  the sick and visits the imprisoned renders that kindness directly to Him. (Matt. 25)  It is beautiful that Jesus identifies with us this closely, and in doing so, He binds us to one another.

In doing the will of the Father, we become mothers, brothers and sisters to Jesus. This is a glorious calling!  Still, there is a deeper intimacy which Jesus longs for, but cannot demand, and that is simply to delight in His presence.