Who am I going to please today? If I’m not miles out at sea in my boat by myself there’s every chance I’ll be near or with people. Unless I completely ignore them and avoid getting in their way I’m most likely to engage them in conversation or become involved with their wants or needs. My wife, for a starter, cannot be avoided when I am living in the same house, neither would I want to avoid her because we have been buddies for a long time and we know how to please each other. In fact, our aim is to please, not that we always do, because we are not perfect and sometimes because of our imperfectness we let the other down.
The truth is that pleasing another person is not really difficult; a smile is a first step, and because smiling is infectious there’s often a reward. So both parties benefit. “Good morning. How are you? Did you sleep well?” is a good introduction to a pleasing day.
Our granddaughter from Italy is staying with us for a week or so, and this morning I challenged her as to who she would be pleasing today. After a short pause she said with enthusiasm that she would be pleasing her Nanny.
“Why would you want to please her?” I teased further.
“Well, she’s very kind to me and gives me nice things. Today she’s going to take me on the bus to the shops, and I know she’ll spoil me.”
She was so right. When she returned home she showed me a new pair of soft shoes and a rather special pair of jeans that had been made to look well worn by having designer shreds and patches incorporated into them. She had a smile from one ear to the other. She was well pleased.
What had she done to please her Nanny? Well, she had enticed her to McDonald’s for a snack which gave both of them pleasure. She showed me two plastic mugs given with her meal and she took delight in sipping cool drinks from them. She loves McDonald’s because she always comes away with some trophy and I have a number of them she has given me for my delight; a plastic King Kong that lights up when pressed is one such article, and an articulating warrior dressed in armour who waves his sword is another.
How could I please her before her bedtime? The opportunity soon arose when she asked if I would play tennis on the back lawn. What a delight it was too! We had been watching a scintillating match on TV between Murray and Ruddock at Wimbledon and thought we would try too. I was Murray and she was Ruddock, and of course I lost, just as the English usually do and the Scots sometimes. I knew I couldn’t win, because of my age handicap and a biased referee. It was no good appealing to the line judge, because there was no Hawkeye, the electronic machine that follows the ball’s passage through the air and shows exactly where it lands.
Pleasure is ours for giving and for receiving. I can highly recommend the practice of setting out each day with the aim to please another person, because those who give pleasure in good measure will be amply rewarded. (Luke 6:38; 1 John 3:22; 2 Corinthians 5:9)