You Can Not Please Everyone

by Todd Shupe

“Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT).

I think many of us are searching for our purpose in life.  We want to follow God but are not sure what He wants us to do.  What is my ministry?  How can I build up the Body of Christ?  These are profound questions.  For many of us, we find our purpose with work and family.  We work to provide food and shelter for those that we love the most – our family.  Clearly, God wants us to be responsible parents and to cherish our children and to raise them to seek His face.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Our lives are busy and complicated.  There are so many demands on our time.  We don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings so we often agree to most everything that is asked of us at home, work, church, and other associations and clubs that we belong.  I am a people pleaser.  I want to avoid conflict and make those around me happy.  I think God loves it when we help those in need because it shows that our faith is not dead (see James 2:14-26). 

A few questions to consider when asked to provide your service.

How Does The Request Make Me Feel?

Do I feel pressure to agree?  If so, the request is not Godly.  God does not use pressure.  He wants us to come to Him because we seek a relationship with Him.  He wants us to seek Him with all our heart and promises that if we do so we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13). 

What Are My Reasons to Agree?

If we agree to a request to serve because we feel that it will elevate our status or create a debt that we can later “cash in”, then we should not agree to do it.  We should serve others out of love with an outward focus, not inward.  Our actions should feed the Spirit and not the flesh.  You can fool others with your actions but not God.   “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

What Fruit Will This Produce?

I feel that the enemy loves to keep good people doing things that have a little to no impact on The Kingdom.  Consider the fruit that may come from your efforts (see Matthew 7:17).  Recognize that any fruit that does come is because of His hand.  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

Take the Request Captive

We can’t be all things to all people.  However, we can be all that God wants us to be and do all that He wants us to do to build His kingdom on earth.  Our actions always begin with a thought.    So, when we are asked to take on a new responsibility, take the request captive and closely examine it.    “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).  I think it is appropriate to substitute “request” in place of “thought” in this scripture. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father we come before you as busy people with so very many responsibilities.  We want to provide for our families, please our bosses and customers, and live in harmony with all.  Please help us to always put you first in all that is asked of us.  We seek your  peace that transcends all understanding and we ask for your wisdom to make decisions that bring honor and glory to you.  Amen.

About the Author:  

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.