The word brings to mind many different pictures and thoughts. For many, it might be an exquisite candlelit dinner with someone they love. A relaxing vacation in Hawaii would certainly qualify as pleasure for most people. To the sports enthusiast, attending a great college football game on a perfect fall day is the ticket. And for the sunbather, there is nothing like a day at the beach. For me, a walk in the woods is the best; it calms my soul and awakens creativity.
The list could be almost endless, for just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, pleasure is in the heart of the one experiencing it. For my wife, Ceci, a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich is one of life’s simple pleasures. (I know...it’s a Southern thing. My gag reflex kicks in just thinking about it.)
Pleasure is not only determined by the things we do, but also by the company we keep. Personally, I’d rather eat a tomato sandwich with my wife (don’t tell her I said that!) than a filet mignon with a few other people I can think of. In fact, I’d prefer a root canal over an evening with some of them.
A few years back, a series of effective television commercials featured “The most interesting man in the world” as their spokesperson. Their descriptions of this superman were so witty and comical they inspired enthusiasts to collect and post them on the Internet. The one-liners described him as having inside jokes with complete strangers, winning sporting events with his game face alone, and other hilarious claims to fame. The quips are witty but, of course, so impossible no one could ever fulfill them.
Though an outrageous claim for mere mortals, there actually is an identifiable most interesting person in the world. Yahweh is His name. His son, Jesus, is just like Him, as is Holy Spirit; so much so that Yahweh actually sent this Son to earth to reveal His true nature and characteristics. “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father,” Jesus contended (John 14:9).
Words are certainly inadequate to describe God’s attributes, abilities, intellect, and accomplishments. He is breathtaking yet calming, all-powerful but gentle, unsearchably wise though humble, and awe-inspiring while completely approachable. Perfection defines Him, intrigue surrounds Him, and eternity is in Him. His intricacies are so complex it requires oxymoronic words and phrases to describe Him: He is the God-man, both human and divine; He’s the Ancient of Days, yet is forever new and exists in a perpetual now; His omnipresent existence contradicts every natural law of time, space, and physics.
Young and old, male and female, rich and poor, moral and immoral - they all found Jesus interesting. He was so magnetic and gentle in His personality that children loved and trusted Him. Yet He was so overpowering in His masculinity and multifaceted in His gifts that intellectual businessmen, as well as coarse, tough fishermen left their careers at His simple invitation to “follow Me.” Grown men fell before Jesus in worship, and anointing oil worth thousands of dollars was poured upon His feet. A multitude of men, women and children - yes, children - sat for days at a time listening to Him teach. Families loved having Him in their homes. Scholars enjoyed picking His brain - when He was only twelve years old! Many more books have been written concerning Him than about any other person, and people sit for hours writing songs about Him - by the thousands.
My meager list barely scratches the surface. Consider the following facts:
A fish supplied Him with a mouthful of money.
Storms obeyed His commands.
His spit healed blind eyes and His touch cured leprosy.
He walked on water . . . and through walls!
He turned water into wine and multiplied by thousands a few fish and loaves of bread.
He raised the dead.
He reversed insanity.
Demons fled from Him.
Fire goes before Him and consumes His enemies.
His eyes are like fire, His voice like a waterfall.
Angels worship Him; rulers cast their crowns at His feet.
He created everything . . . with just His words.
He keeps the universe operating in perfect order . . . yep, with just His words.
What if I told you this Man requests the pleasure of your company; that this incredible person, the only true and living God, not only loves you, He likes you. He created we humans because He wanted family and friends, not distant servants. When Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them how to pray, His response introduced them to a completely new and radical way of thinking. “Start your prayer by addressing God as Father,” He answered (Matthew 6:7). Other references encourage us to call Him “Abba - Papa” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
When Jesus said this, He forever changed the playing field. He rewrote the rules. Religious leaders were offended, philosophers found it ridiculous, but hungry hearts like yours and mine, looking for our roots, found it incredibly hope-inspiring.
“You mean God told us to call Him Dad, not Your Highness or Most Holy One?”
“Yep,” Jesus said. “God would prefer that you call Him ‘Dad’.”
May that forever shape your approach to Yahweh. Father God wants YOU, not some shallow religious loyalty. The affirmation of your praise and the admiration of your worship blesses Him, not because He needs affirmation or likes to hear how great He is, but because He wants to connect with you. The Scriptures tell us He is seeking “worshipers,” not worship. (John 4:23) Think about it. God isn’t insecure, needing our praise in order to feel good about Himself; nor is He proud, needing worship to feed or satisfy His ego. It’s the relationship He desires. Intimacy. Family. When we worship, He is captivated by the singer, not the song. Our company is what He longs for. Enlightened worshipers know this. They also know that when we approach Him, He responds; and the pleasure of His company becomes our reward.
Make it yours.
Pray with me:
Father, thank You for wanting us in Your world. Thank You for sending Your Son to redeem us back to You when we rebelled from the plan. We marvel at Your grace and love.
Jesus, we are grateful beyond words at Your willingness to come into our world, amazed that You were willing to become one of us, a flesh and blood human being, in order to redeem us. We want to get to know You better. As we embark on this journey, drawing closer to You, may enjoying the pleasure of Your company become our reward.
And we thank You for sharing Your authority with us, for giving us Your name. Teach us how to more skillfully and wisely partner with You in stewarding and managing the Earth. May we represent and reveal You more effectively, doing so out of relationship, not just responsibility.
In Your name we pray, Amen.
We confess and boldly declare that we are accepting Abba’s invitation to draw near. We will find and enjoy the pleasure of His company.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company. Dutch Sheets, The Pleasure of His Company (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 9-16.
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