I am a very loyal customer. If a business treats me well, with honesty and respect then they will have all my business for years to come. Recently there has been a huge drop in customer care as businesses rush for the one-time sale. As far as I am concerned these businesses will not be in business for long. But then again, most customers are not like me, putting more emphasis on what they can save in price than on how they are treated as a customer. Businesses must cater to the needs of their customers for their survival and for this reason the Church can never be based on the business practices of the world.
I say that but yet many pastors act as if they are running a business and they will tell you that to your face. They consider that their livelihood is in the hands of the congregation so they serve to please the people. They have it backwards. Any servant of the Lord God Almighty who thinks they are dependant on people instead of God are not worthy to serve. We must always keep in mind that God takes care of our needs, he has given us our mission and we do what he says, not what we think is best. If people need correction then we correct; if encouragement then we encourage; instruction then we instruct; training then we train. Pastors do not sympathize or coddle God's children into rebellion and sin.
Apostle Paul must have been criticized by the church in Galatia for being a people pleaser, which is not exactly how many of us would have described him. He wrote back to them:
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
There is my point: none of us can be a servant of Jesus if we are trying to please people. My wife is a person that can't stand knowing that someone hates her or holds something against her. She shows every kindness to everyone and sometimes is dumbfounded when that love is not returned, especially among believers. But she will not compromise who she is in Christ to receive that affection. It has not been easy for her but she has come to accept that some people will dislike her simply because of Jesus in her. There is not anything we can do about that.
Just as pastors cannot compromise on the Word of God and God's righteousness to win the approval of men, we cannot compromise to win their affection. Our first duty is to be like Jesus, speaking the truth in love, loving everyone regardless if they are friend or foe and being uncompromising in the righteousness of God. We have a mission here and it is not to win the hearts of people for ourselves but to win them for God. Jesus was unswerving in his preaching of the Good News. Some followed him but most walked away. The Apostles were unswerving in their preaching of Jesus. Some followed but most walked away. Jesus said it would by like this. He said the way to eternal life is narrow with a narrow gate but the way to destruction is broad because that is the way most people choose.
Desiring to win the approval of people is selfish to the very core of it. It is placing our needs ahead of the needs of people. People need salvation and we must risk our own reputations to present the truth to them. We must risk our relationship with them, sacrificing it on the fires of truth, if we love them as we say we do. There is no compromise in the mission Jesus has given us and no amount of excuses will save us if we are not faithful to it. All of our passion should be for this mission as we lift up the name of Jesus so that people will hear and be saved.
The time of compromise is over. The children of God must rise up and take their place. We must throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us so that we can run this race that has been marked out for us. No more pleasing men for their affection but instead the uncompromising sharing of God's Good News for the sake of their souls' eternal salvation. Rise up dear children, rise up! There is a world that is dying without Jesus.