I think it is pretty safe to say especially after hearing today’s Gospel that Jesus was not and is not a people pleaser. He did not come to earth so that He might tend to all our whims and fancies and to make sure that we always feel that we are being catered to perfectly. You might say, of course Father, we know that, but I would say that at least sometimes we don’t live like we know that is the case. Are we not at least somewhat taken aback every time we hear Jesus say that He has not come to bring peace on the earth, but division? He does not even consider the possibility of trying to please everyone, or any one, for that matter, because and, part of me hates to say this, that is not His goal. And besides, He knows that pleasing everyone is impossible. Actually, isn’t it true, that even if we only try to please one person we soon find out that all we have done is to create a monster who expects us to tend to them in perpetuity? What we forget is that Jesus did not come to earth and become one of us because He was just pleased as punch with how things were with the world and with us. He came for exactly the opposite reason. He came because He was not okay with how things were on earth. He came because things had to change, we had to change, and because He was going to be the agent of that change. He did not come to preserve the status quo; He came to topple it. He came to be a leader; You might say He came to be a Pastor. If we are going to be good leaders, and we are called to be such, we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the fear of rejection.  I know from experience, and I am not proud to say this that I sometimes fall into the trap of trying to please everyone, of trying to keep everyone happy. That is not what Jesus did and it is not a way to help people to grow closer to Christ. The fear of rejection leads so many leaders, and perhaps pastors especially, to compromise away from what could be to what is merely possible or to settle for how things already are, and you know what? People still complain. This might cause them;  it might cause us, to retreat from a position of leadership and to regret that we ever even tried.  We allow our fear of disappointing someone, of possibly offending some one of rendering us ineffective and irrelevant; afraid even to dream.  And that truly is tragic. What Jesus teaches all leaders and pastors is that we cannot focus on the few that we fear might leave but rather focus on the many that we might reach through our exercise of humble but bold leadership. I know one thing, and I need you folks to help me with this one, if you ever see me fall into the trap of becoming a timid people pleaser rather than a pastor who yearns to lead, then give me a warning, because if I do become like that, it is time for this pastor to be put out to pasture.

AuthorCathy Remick