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July 1, 2014 – Matthew 11

Click here to read Matthew 11 on BibleGateway.com

can't please everyoneYou can’t please everyone.

We all know it, yet it seems that we can’t help but try. No less an authority than Bill Cosby stated that the key to failure was to try to please everyone, and this from the man who had one of the most pleasing shows in the history of television. Especially the one when he makes Theo pay for his rent with monopoly money. Classic. In any case, if ole Bill admits that even he had his detractors, there’s probably little chance for the rest of us to have smooth sailing.

You would think that getting along with other Christians should be somewhat easy; we all have the same overall goal, we all read from the same playbook, and we all have the same boss. Yet almost every Christian – particularly if one is a pastor or evangelist – can probably attest to the numerous times that people have challenged not only their interpretation and teaching, but even their salvation. We have little patience with people who answer to God instead of to us, especially if they follow Jesus differently than we think they should.


Jesus points out our dilemma. John the Baptist lived the life of the hermit, out in the desert, eating bugs: his fellow believers claimed he had a demon. Jesus comes along, lives in the cities (primarily), with and around people, eating this that and the other: the crowds called him a drunk and glutton. It seems a prophet just can’t win. No matter what you do, it always ends in a public execution.

The truth is, you will always have people who disagree with how you serve God. You don’t pray enough, you don’t study enough, you don’t help the poor enough, you don’t preach on forgiveness enough, you don’t preach on hell enough, you don’t evangelize enough, you don’t get to know people enough before evangelizing… it goes on and on and on. If you are in a position to talk to a pastor, ask them. I can guarantee one of the first lessons they learned in ministry is that you will always have people that dislike you and are trying to get rid of you. It’s the joy of spiritual leadership.


So what are we to do? The answer is simple, and difficult. Don’t worry about what others say. Easy to say, no doubt, and nearly impossible to do. Unfortunately, that’s about the only solution there is. (Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to anybody; God sometimes works through others to guide us or bring things to our attention. But that’s different than trying to please others.  See Peter and Paul’s fisticuffs in Acts.) If you want to be a spiritual leader, that’s just part of the gig.

We all have to make a choice; and it’s usually not a one-time choice. It’s a choice you have to make every morning when you wake up to the shrill voice of your alarm clock or the soothing serenade of a shrieking infant. What will you do today? Will you follow God wholeheartedly? Some people won’t like it. And I’m not just talking about those pesky non-believers who dislike you simply because of Jesus. I’m talking about your fellow servants of Christ; most often, they will be the ones to kick your spiritual loins the hardest. You must decide if you will change what you are doing to please them, or serve God to the best of you ability. To please the only One who matters in the end.

Who will you try to please today?

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