The Slippery Slope of Pleasing People
Doesn’t everyone want to be happy? And don’t we all like to hang around people who make us happy? Why not let maximizing people’s happiness be one of our foremost goals then? Wouldn’t that be a good way to serve humanity?
Interestingly, Jesus never spoke about happiness as a goal worth striving for, nor did he promise it to any of his followers. While showing mercy and compassion to those who came to him, he never allowed people’s needs or expectations to govern him. He knew his agenda and followed it consequently. His mission was not to offer temporal happiness, but to rescue us for eternity.
Trying to make people happy is like climbing a slippery slope. It doesn’t matter whether the needs of people around you or their expectations are legitimate or not. In our pursuit to “be all things to all people” we will definitely detour from our mission as disciples.
Jesus exercised tremendous discernment to know what to do in every situation. You and I, as disciples of Jesus, have the potential to act in a similar way. We can and must carefully discern the voice of the Spirit from the never-ending lamentations of unmet needs, ours included.
It takes courage, perseverance and high attention to climb the steep rocks of Jesus' commission. The slippery slope of pleasing people may look like a more convenient option, yet it’s treacherous. Once you start sliding, what security do you have?