Vol.VIII No.V Pg.4
July 1971

Ambitious Tent Dwellers

Dan S. Shipley

In 2 Cor. 5: Paul pictures the body as a tent-house (tabernacle) which the Christian will one day put off in favor of a heavenly habitation with the Lord. After showing that to be at home in the body is to be absent from the Lord (vs. 6) he concludes in verse 9, Wherefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing unto him.

The word aim as used here means to be ambitious in a good sense. It is to act from love or honor; in this case, the honor which comes from the Lord. (See Robertsons Word Pictures in the New Testament. Vol. IV, P.229) Pauls noble ambition then, whether in the tent home or the heavenly, was to please the Lord. We recall his words of Rom. 8:14, For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lords. No wonder Paul encourages us to be imitators of him! (Phil. 3:17) Like Paul, all Christians should be actively seeking the honor of Heaven. Pleasing the Father must be the life-ruling ambition of every child of God. After all, isnt that what religion is all about?

Yet, many seek the reward that Paul sought who do not share this worthy ambition. Ironic as it seems, this indispensable and fundamental requirement of pleasing God appears to have been lost sight of by most in religion. To be sure, the idea of a God-pleasing oriented ministration is retained and promoted with much lip— homage. Doing His will is the avowed intent of most, but they are betrayed by their fruits.

Much has been done to lower Pauls high aim to the easier and bigger target of PEOPLE—PLEASING religion. Its popular sentiments are well expressed in the public service advertising that urges attending the church of your choice or every man, in his own way involvement. Its disciples seek for a church or religion with which they can be satisfied — or quit if they become dissatisfied. They accept or reject without serious inquiry or concern as to whether it pleases God — boldly assuming that what pleases them must please Him! One might as logically manufacture counterfeit money and expect the Treasury Department to honor it as to expect God to approve this kind of religion.

Pauls ambition to please God was based on the knowledge that salvation itself depends on it. Heaven awaits only those who will do His will. (Matt. 7:21) The New Testament is our pattern for pleasing God. None of it can be altered or ignored because it alone shows men how they are to walk and to please God. (1 Thes. 4:1) He simply CANNOT be served and honored apart from doing His will — no matter -how sincere and well-intentioned the efforts might be. In contrast to the do-and-believe-as-you-please concept, we, as His servants, humbly do as He pleases. His own son could not do otherwise. (Rom. 15:3)

Pauls ambition should flavor our lives! Pleasing God should influence every decision and duty. There will be little need to be ambitious about pleasing God in heavenly mansions if we fail Him in the tent!