Who Are You Trying to Please?
Do you ever catch yourself going to a lot of trouble trying to make others happy? That I believe has become the mantra of 21st century parents. We are doing all we can and spending all we can afford to make our kids happy. It does seem as though we are constantly trying to win the approval of people in all walks of our lives.
We work hard to impress others, we change our plans to keep the peace, we wear certain fashions, and we drive certain cars, and buy houses of stature, and so much more in an attempt to win the approval of others as Paul describes it. When you read and meditate on what Paul is saying in Galatians 1:10, you realize quickly that this attempt to win the approval of others essentially makes us their servants.
When I look back on my life, I realize that the times I spent so valiantly trying to please others were the most miserable times of my life. I work in ministry and it’s so easy to get caught up in trying to make people happy and get your focus off of living to please God.
I have been blessed to lead this growing and vibrant Christian school. I have learned one very hard lesson over the years. That lesson is that I cannot please everyone all the time. I sure tried too many times in the beginning years. Not only did I try and please everyone, I would also find myself hurt anytime someone directed criticism my way. I will never forget that within the first month of being on the job that I received an anonymous letter that really rattled me. The writer told me in the letter that no one liked the changes that I was bringing to the school and that they would not work.
At the time, I was devastated and wanted to quit. Instead of quitting, I got alone with God and began to pray. I began to ask Him about the direction that He would have me to take this school. From that time, God gave me two verses to provide the direction that I needed.
First, God reminded me that the growth of the school was not my concern but rather it was His. He used John 12:32 to make this point to me. That verse declares: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” I realized at that moment that my job was to bring God glory in all we do. If I lifted Him up, then He promises to take care of whatever growth we may need.
Next, God reaffirmed to me through 2 Corinthians 5:9 that my goal for running this school and my life is to please Him and Him alone. My job is not to try and please everybody as that is completely impossible. “So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please Him.”
As heartbreaking as that letter was, I look back and realize that God was teaching me all I needed to worry about in this job and in my life is pleasing Him, bringing Him glory, and following His directions. Seventeen years later, that little school of less than 200 students and 25 staff members has grown to over 1300 students and 250 staff members. I do not share that with you to brag but to show just what God can do if we follow His direction and not ours.
We will never completely please people and trying to constantly win their approval is futile. We need to be primarily focused only on pleasing God and loving people.