Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Went to a Garden Party

Ricky Nelson, that iconic philosopher of 1950's era teeny-boppers, made a profound observation in his 1972 hit song Garden Party. He said, "Ya can't please everybody, so ya got to please yourself." How is that for summing up life?

Nelson wrote that song in response to fans who expected him to continue singing "Hello Mary Lou" and his other hits from the 1950's. He moved on, however. He stretched. He wanted to grow. His answer to those who wanted him to always be Ricky Nelson, Ozzie and Harriet's boy, was that he was his own person.

In a recent post I discussed the importance of various relationships. This is a very similar topic to me. Who do you plan to please? Who do you need to please? Ricky Nelson was all about pleasing himself. The current crop of pop music stars are all about pleasing everyone else (so that they can sell records). But which is right.

  • Pleasing myself. If I focus only on pleasing myself, I will miss many of the greatest blessings in life. I will become ingrown and not get the joy of relationships with others that can be extremely beneficial and fruitful. For as I seek to please only myself, I will alienate others who are much less concerned with my pleasure.
  • Pleasing others. When my biggest concern is what others think and how I can make them happy, I may shortcut my own ability to be happy. If I do not know myself, or what I am supposed to be doing, how can I be truly fulfilled?
  • Pleasing God. Here is the million dollar answer. When I spend my time and energy pleasing God, I will be personally fulfilled because God's plan for my life is to please him. I will be in good standing with others, because God will give me favor with others. I will be concerned with their wants, needs, desires and expectations.

The bottom line is that when I please God, I will win all the way around. In Matthew 6.33 Jesus says that if we seek God's ways first, everything else that we need will be taken care of. I'm for that.

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