Summary: Sermon #2 in a 4 part series on Truth's we must believe extracted from Dr. Chris Thurman's book, Truth's we must believe. Truth #2 is "You can't Please Everyone" companion text is 1 Thess.2:4 and Gal. 1:10

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Title: You Can’t Please Everyone

Series: TRUTHS We Must Believe #2

I Thessalonians 2:4; Galatians 1:10

CHCC: August 12, 2012


We’re in a 4-week series called Truths We Must Believe. Last week we focused on the truth: “To err is human.” This week we’re going to talk about another truth that’s a close cousin to that one. If it’s true that “to err is human” (and it certainly IS true) then it follows that “You can’t please everyone.”

This is a truism we’ve all heard hundreds of times. But hearing and believing aren’t the same thing. The fact is that most people (including you and me) spend a lot of time trying to please everyone. Think about it. How much does the opinion of others influence what you do and say? Do you feel deeply upset if anyone has a bad impression of you? Do you ever re-live things in your mind, imagining how you must have looked to everyone else? Just about everyone has a need for approval. But that can all-too-easily turn into approval addiction. That turns us into “people-pleasers.”

Back in 1975 Rick Nelson recorded a song called “Garden Party.” The song tells about the day he learned the truth: " you can’t please everyone." Rick Nelson had been a teen heart-throb in the late 50’s, and he was invited to sing in an “oldies” concert in Madison Square Garden. The problem was, no one recognized him because he changed the way he looked, and instead of singing the familiar oldies exclusively, he also sang some of his new songs … and the crowd booed him right off the stage. That inspired this song (which is now an oldie) sing … or play video -

The words of the chorus are: Well, it's alright now. I've learned my lesson well. You can't please everyone, so you've gotta please yourself.

“You can’t please everyone, so you’ve gotta please yourself.” The first part is true, but the last part is not the “final answer.” Trying to please yourself isn’t really any better than trying to please other people. We can’t live up to our own expectations any more than we can live up to everyone else’s demands. For a Christian, the goal is not to please self but to please God.

Look at I Thessalonians 2:4 Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (ESV)

Obviously, we shouldn’t completely ignore other people. We need to care about everyone … and we should listen to the opinions of godly men and women. But when it comes right down to it, the only thing that ABSOLUTELY matters is whether or not we are pleasing to God. Looking good to everyone else is not nearly as important as pleasing God.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave several examples of people who did their religious deeds … not to please God … but to try to please everybody else. His conclusion was, “They have their reward.” And even the earthly reward is not that great. People who try to please everyone will eventually wear themselves out!

1. Wear Out

There’s a great example of this in Luke chapter 10. Jesus and the Disciples were staying at Mary and Martha’s house. Martha was bustling around trying to get a meal ready and make everything perfect for these special guests. We don’t know if she was trying to please all of them or if she was trying to meet her own hostess standards. Whatever her motives, she was wearing herself out. And that’s what happens to any of us when we try to please everyone.

Meanwhile, Mary had joined the disciples, sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his teaching. Martha came in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Jesus’ answer has a lot to teach us. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

Only ONE thing is needed – and that’s what Mary chose – to sit at the feet of Jesus and enjoy a relationship with Him. What Mary chose is to focus on pleasing God – and that is the only thing that really matters.

When we try to please everybody, we not only wear ourselves out … we’ll ruin any chance of success. Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” He was right. Trying to please everybody means that when it comes to success, we’ll be a wash out.

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