Lisa’s been teaching Tommy to use words, not fists and feet, when he’s angry.
The day care keeps little notebooks on the big juniors like Tommy (age 3). When I pick him up on Thursday, we check his notebook as usual. But what’s this? A little boy pushed Tommy and he responded with “No, thank you.” Really? “No, thank you”? I’m thrilled, and I tell him so.
Mommy calls and I put Tommy on the phone.
“Tell Mommy what you did,” I urge. He does and she’s impressed.
But what impresses me most is Tommy’s reaction. When he hears the words, “I’m so happy with you!” he tenses his little arms and shakes them. His eyes brighten and his face glows.
“My mommy’s so happy with me!” he rejoices.
Lisa rewards Tommy when she gets home, but that’s really beside the point. Tommy’s delight is in delighting her.
Two thoughts come to mind. Our Lord cautioned us against seeking the praise of people, and He criticized the hypocrites in the synagogues who sounded a trumpet when they gave their offering. “Take heed that ye do not your alms [offering] before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven,” He warned us in Matthew 6.
But years ago I read a comment by C.S. Lewis that enjoying the praise of another (in its purest form) is not wrong. It simply means we’re happy that we made the other person happy. That’s what I think Tommy was experiencing, and that’s the joy our Lord promises to those who are faithful to Him.
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).