I see it every night on the news. The politics of backslapping and handshaking and making sure “so-and-so” isn’t turned off—it’s maddening! (We call it “smoke-blowing” here in Texas.)
At the end of the political rainbow the pot of gold is “favorable public opinion.” Period.
If we’re not careful, we can let politics work its way into our churches. And even worse, into our pulpits. In fact, the pastorate is a breeding ground for this sort of thing—maybe more than most professions.
I love the way the apostle Paul keeps our motives clean and focus sharp:
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4–5 NLT)
People-pleasing is a very tempting allurement, especially for people in ministry, because most of what we do gets done through people.
When needing volunteer positions filled—whether . . .
- In the nursery
- For a Sunday school class
- Among the ushers
- In our music ministry
It’s easy to massage our words and say more than we mean . . . or say something other than what we mean. (That’s called a lie.) The pastor must resist the temptation to flatter. We must refuse to play both sides against the middle.
Don’t go there. Why? Because once you start, it’s hard to stop.
When a pastor is a people-pleaser, he sits on the fence so as not to offend anyone. He remains neutral when he should NOT be playing it safe.
He tells people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.
That’s not pastoring . . . that’s politics.
Look at the apostle’s words one more time. I find myself both challenged and refreshed by Paul’s transparency:
Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.