In today’s first reading from Exodus 32, Moses has a little heart-to-heart with God, asking Him to relent from destroying His people. And God relented. A wonderful statement on the power of prayer. And in the Gospel reading from John 5, Jesus talks about accepting praise. He says, “I do not accept human praise.” And to the Jews, He says, “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?”
Jesus didn’t need praise or approval from other people. In fact, quite the contrary. He said an awful lot of things that ticked off an awful lot of people. But it didn’t matter to Him. He knew He was doing the Father’s will. And that was His ultimate motivation.
So, what’s your motivation? I can honestly say that I struggle with this a lot. I want to be liked. I don’t like upsetting the old apple cart. Too often I seek the approval of people, even if God has a different idea of what I should be doing or saying. I believe that as we get closer to Christ, we will care less and less about the opinions of other people. To be more like Christ, we need to seek the praise that comes from the only God.
Father, forgive us for those times when we turn our backs on you, just to win the approval of people. Show us today Your will, and give us the grace to accomplish it, regardless of what others think. Amen.