“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.” — John Lydgate
The older I get, the more I realize just how very true this sentence really is. I have been in the ministry now for 45 years. And, even as a pastor, I cannot please everyone. I might forget to do something someone has asked me to do. I might miss an appointment I failed to write down. (I have never missed a wedding or a funeral so, I guess in 45 years that is pretty good.) But it is true, you cannot please all of the people all of the time. And, if you try to do that, you will wear yourself out and take upon yourself a huge burden of guilt because of it.
I was one of many who stayed up till three o’clock on Wednesday morning to find out who our next president was going to be. Beth and I sat there with our eyes glued to the screen, hoping at any minute the announcement would come. It did, at about 3:50 a.m. Wednesday.
While many people were jubilant with excitement, many people were also crushed to see that their candidate didn’t win. All day, Facebook posts were going back and forth about who should have been elected and why this happened and why this didn’t and how the world is now doomed, and the markets were going to crash. When I got up (about three hours later) the sun was rising in the sky and most things were as they had been the day before. The only thing that changed was the person who is now going to be the 45th president of the United States.
So what does that have to do with this article? Thank you for asking. Someone once said, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” That phrase has been used much in church growth. Most everything in this world changes. Don’t believe me? Look in the mirror (enough said). Since the church is alive (hopefully, yours is) then there is going to be change. Change of pastors, change of service times, change of venues, change of personnel, lots of changes.
And, believe it or not, change is most of the time good. As long as the Truth of the Word of God doesn’t change, then everything should be alright. The way the Word is shared can change. The Bible translation used in a given congregation can change. The songs and music can change. But never, ever, never, never change the Truth of the Word of God. Even the delivery of the Word can change — but God’s Word never changes.
I have noticed that many times when change happens it does cause a group of people to be happy about the change while another group is really unhappy. How do we resolve this divide?
I can sum it up for you in one word: prayer.
Understand that Jesus told us He was giving us a new command and that all of the commandments already given would hang on this one, new command. “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Think about this — if we love God with all of our heart, we seek and we desire for His will to be done, both in this world and in our lives. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we seek to honor them and be a blessing to them because God has blessed us. With that same thought for the church, we are “brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
In families, oftentimes, siblings argue and sometimes, they even get into a heated fight. But when the dust settles, they hug each others neck and go on loving each other like nothing happened. Try this in your life. Understand you are not always going to get your way. And if that happens, for the sake of community, pray about the situation, put it into God’s hands, let go and walk away and agree to disagree agreeably. You’ll see, the Lord will use you and He will use your cooperative attitude to bring honor to His holy name.
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
God bless you and we want to let you know the doors to our church are always open to you and to your family. We’d love to have you and your family come and worship with us. If you don’t have a home church, please check us out at 10:45 a.m. Dress casual.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.