The Pleasure of Praise


Famous with GodSeveral years ago my wife gave to me a the gift of a little book “C.S. Lewis on Love”.

This morning as I read a short chapter”The Pleasure of Praise”  taken from The Weight of Glory a sermon given by Mr. Lewis in 1941, it touched me deeply. I wrote in my journal, “Lord I want to be famous with you, to hear You say well done good and faithful servant.” Of all the fame we might acquire on this earth this accolade stands far above all else. Below is a portion of that chapter.

Glory suggests two ideas to me, of which one seems wicked
and the other ridiculous. Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity. As for the first, since to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven. As for the second, who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb?
When I began to look into this matter I was shocked to find such different Christians as Milton, Johnson, and Thomas Aquinas taking heavenly glory quite frankly in the sense of fame or good report. But not fame conferred by our fellow creatures—fame with God, approval or (I might say) “appreciation” by God.
And then, when I had thought it over, I saw that this view was scriptural; nothing can eliminate from the parable the divine accolade,
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
With that, a good deal of what I had been thinking all my life fell down like a house of cards,
I suddenly remembered that no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child— not in a conceited child, but in a good child—as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised.

I am not forgetting how horribly this most innocent desire is parodied in our human ambitions, or how very quickly, in my own experience, the lawful pleasure of praise from those whom it was my duty to please turns into the deadly poison of self-admiration. But I thought I could detect a moment—a very, very short moment—before this happened, during which the satisfaction of having pleased those whom I rightly loved and rightly feared was pure. And that is enough to raise our thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last the he or she has pleased Him whom they were created to please…


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