I didn't have a perfect relationship with my dad. I'm not sure that anyone does. But one thing I was always certain of was the he was very proud of me. By proud I don't mean that he boasted over his self-important son, but rather that he always made it clear when he was pleased with me. He sent me cards to congratulate me if I did well at school (I went to boarding school in the age before the mobile phone!). He put up pictures or certificates if I got them. He used to jump up and down, roaring rather too enthusiastic encouragement when he came to watch me play rugby. I knew when I pleased my dad.
I'm reading a great little book at the moment. It's called "Perfect Sinners", by Matt Fuller. The subtitle is "See yourself as God sees you". This morning I read the chapter on "Does God's love for me vary?". Whilst reminding me that God's love for us in Christ doesn't vary, Matt also explained how the Bible teaches that we can please and displease God. Like a truly loving earthly father, our Heavenly Father, loves us despite all our faults. However, He is not happy with all our actions. There are things that we do that grieve God and things that we do that please God.
The idea that something I do could please my Father in Heaven brought a smile to my face. Not of pride, because in the end I can only please him because I am united to His Son, Jesus, by His grace. But a smile of privilege. That a small and seemingly insignificant action by me, might actually bring pleasure to the Almighty creator of the Universe.
Here are a few examples:
Money given for gospel work: Philippians 4:18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
Sharing with others: Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Caring for family: 1 Timothy 5:4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
Children obeying parents: Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (It pleases parents too!)
So why not think about the privilege of being able to please God our Father today. Because he has loved you in His Son and given you His Spirit to make you his child.
(The book is well worth buying and reading by the way.)