“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:31-35
Your Master is the most remarkably good and fascinating person there has ever been. Still, when He walked this earth in mortal flesh, He was misunderstood, wrongly suspected, and flat-out rejected by some of the smartest and best-educated people in the land. These “wise” leaders were so convinced that they were right and had the market on truth that they dismissed the messages of both John the Baptizer (God’s prophet of preparation) and Jesus the Messiah (God’s anointed King). As Luke noted, this proved that they had “rejected God’s purpose for themselves” (Lk. 7:30).
In the verses above, Jesus was pointing out the absurdity of their position. They rejected and vilified John because he was too different and distant – living out in the wilderness and not indulging in the common pleasures of everyone else. Yet they rejected and vilified Jesus because He was too common – eating and drinking like ‘those people’ did. Basically, they couldn’t be satisfied no matter what kind of messenger God sent to them. Their hearts were hard and proud, and Jesus was entirely aggravated by them.
The reason I bring this to your attention today, Disciple, is that you can have a clear view like your Master. People-pleasing is a trap that many – including myself – have fallen into as they navigate their way through their social worlds. Jesus knew better than anyone else that pleasing people cannot be our ultimate aim because some people cannot be pleased no matter what you do. Consider what John said about His Master: “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people” (John 2:24).
This doesn’t mean that people don’t matter or that their opinions are meaningless. What this means is that there is a higher and more steady concern that we must have: doing the will of our Father. Like our Master, we can come to see the “audience of One” in everything we do. We can love and serve others, not to win their approval or earn their praise, but to honor them as Father said they are to be honored because they are His. Do not fear the opinions of others. People are fickle, and they draw conclusions too quickly. They can be wrong, and they often are. Seek after the approval and pleasure of the One whose judgment is true and steady – and always infused with deep love.
Living to please Him with you,