As I was reading the Bible this morning, I stumbled upon this verse:
“I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved,” (1 Corinthians 10:33, NLT)
Fascinating perspective isn’t it? Typically, we don’t operate like that. We put personal conviction or preferences ahead of what may be best for others. Think about it…
- It isn’t worship if the music is too loud or too fast or the wrong genre.
- It isn’t discipleship if the content is delivered in a home or online instead of in a classroom.
- It isn’t missions if we help a neighbor who has wealth instead of focusing on people who live in poverty.
- The message is good if it calls out the sin of other people, but when it’s our sin, we’re offended.
- Rather than embracing the ministries that are impacting the most people, we want the church to embrace our personal projects and passions.
- We’re more inclined to give when we can direct how the money is used.
Crazy. You’d think we’d be intentional about living out our faith to do what’s best for others. Instead, we make ministry decisions to try to keep people happy. That’s how we end up with churches full of happy Christians. That’s why churches stop growing. We start doing church for us instead of trying to impact the lives of people around us.
The reality is that if we’re going to reach people outside the church and outside the faith, we’re going to have to be uncomfortable. And, once we figure out what’s best for others today, it’ll be different tomorrow. That will involve change. That means we’ll have to get uncomfortable again.
Let’s face it. It’s a lot easier doing ministry when our only goal is to keep people happy. Doing what’s best for others makes life and ministry messy. We have to be willing to rock the boat. We have to be willing to watch people who don’t have a “1 Corinthians 10:33”-mindset leave the church.
When I stop doing what’s best for me and focus on what’s best for others, though, that’s when real life-change happens. It’s worth making “happy Christians” mad so that many may be saved.