bits from bob....

Will They Like Him?

by Robert J. Young
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

"He is a good teacher, but the class doesn't like him." "He is a good preacher, but the church doesn't appreciate him." How often have you heard these or similar statements?

All of us want to be liked. I want you to like me, but I know there is no way to get everyone into the "liking Bob" department regardless of how hard I try. In fact, if I were to get 100% of all people into that department, it could well mean failure. Everyone needs an enemy or two. Enemies help you walk straighter than 200 good friends.

Too often when the church is choosing elders, preachers, youth workers, deacons, or classroom teachers, the big question which arises is, "Will they like him?"

We have pampered ourselves into childishness. It is selfish to reject dedication, goodness, and ability on the grounds of dislikes. It is unrealistic to expect a bundle of good qualities in one package with no undesirable qualities, and with just a little charisma thrown in on the side for good measure. Such seldom occurs in real life.

Saints must learn to work with one another in spite of personal likes and dislikes. I must learn my "druthers" are not Scripture. Catering to superficial preferences cripples the Kingdom. Countless divisions have been fostered because some billygoat won't give in in matters of personal preference. "My way or no way" defeats "the way." We must learn to love those whom we do not particularly like. The body is composed of all kinds of differences and weird ideas.

The church will not grow until it escapes the petty, childish, selfish, and unrealistic. We must teach our children (by example) to be bigger than that. We cannot grow big without bigness of spirit. Following leaders with charisma is bandwagon religion.

If God had held back until he could send someone whom everyone liked and by whom no one was offended, we would still be awaiting a Savior. Aren't you glad he didn't ask, "Will they like him?"

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Last updated November 23, 2001.