How many of us remember the Kix ad with the tagline, "Kid tested, mother approved?" I always felt good about getting Kix for my kids because it was basically healthy, low in sugar etc., not because of the cereal's motto, though I did as a mother approve.
We see political ads ad nauseum at this time of year and we hear plenty of "My name is [insert your favorite (or least favorite) candidate's name] and I approve of this message." One does get some sense of credibility in hearing that statement. At least the candidate knows what's being said of him/her.
One of this morning's lectionary readings was from 1 Thessalonians 2 where Paul is defending his ministry. As I was prayerfully reading this, what particularly struck me was these few words "approved by God." It is God's approval that Paul could look to in defense of his work, his concern: "pleas[ing] God who tests our hearts."
And me? I have a rather high need for approval of others. I may not show it outwardly, but it is there. When a couple of friends weren't comfortable doing a Leadership Trait Questionnaire for my Leadership: Creating Shared Vision class, all I could think of was how bad my traits must be that they would be uncomfortable completing it. Ray thought I was overreacting, which is probably true, but we all like praise.
How can we be effective leaders or pastors of God's people if we keep seeking the approval of others whether they be mothers, candidates or parishioners? I don't know about you, but I want to be God approved, with "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:23) being all I need to hear. Lord in your mercy...hear our prayer.
Picture courtesy of Geocities.