Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Children Of The Heavenly King"1 (Lyrics)
The crowd collectively held their breath as the "black belt" entered the tournament arena. The young man had defeated other competitors to achieve the chance to win a Grand Champion trophy from his martial arts school. This was his moment.
He stood before the judges, bowed, and began his final performance. To the astonishment of the judges and the crowd, his moves were not the moves of a third-degree black belt in Korean Tang Soo Do, but those of a lower ranking belt. The young man finished and stood motionless, waiting for his score.
Over the loudspeaker, a deep voice echoed, "Ladies and gentlemen, please give my son a round of applause. He chose to perform at a lower rank today, thereby forfeiting the Grand Champion trophy to another student." The young man bowed to the judges and toward the voice.
The voice was that of his father.
The son was the best in the school, but his motive had never been to earn a trophy; it was to honour his father specifically by performing his father's most favourite martial arts techniques. And his father approved. Eventually, he would be taking over the school, continuing his father's legacy.
John 8:29 – And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. (KJV)
When Jesus walked on this earth, His purpose was to honour His Father. His mission, ultimately, was to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. During His lifetime, He brought glory to His Father by healing the sick, raising the dead, and caring for children. Often, He experienced misunderstanding and criticism from the religious leaders and even from His own disciples. They did not comprehend Who He was or what His plan was. But Jesus knew that the Father was with Him, and His Father was pleased with Him. That was all that mattered.
In our daily lives, money, power, fame, or promotions call out to us, pulling us into the lie that they will fulfill us. Yet our calling as Christians is to honour our heavenly Father — not primarily to pursue success.
Just as Jesus always performed the will of the Father, so should we follow Jesus' example. How we please God will differ according to our unique gifts. It might involve sacrificial service to our family, giving from our financial resources, volunteering our time at a non-profit, or simply showing patience with others.
May we not strive for pointless trophies. May we not worry about satisfying other people or worrying over their opinions of us. We have a solo audience in heaven. Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus and choose the path of humility and service to others.
For then, someday, we will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Prayer: Father God, help us to remain purposeful in our actions and focused on Your work through us. Thank You that we can do good in Your name on this earth. We are filled with joy as we please You. We praise Your name above all others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.