It’s not our job to make others happy or to be made happy by others.
It’s not our job to be sucked into another person’s drama or to suck others into ours.
It’s not our job to run other people’s lives or to have others run our lives. Granted, sometimes it may be our job is to decide what’s best for others but what a slippery slope that is – as parents, presidents, police, priests and pastors can attest.
Instead of being “the sage on the stage” of life, we may do better to serve as “the guide on the side.” The apostle Paul might have liked that concept as he had no desire to dominate or be dominated.
To avoid dominating, he held off visiting the Corinthian church, which he founded, so that he would not come in too strong. Instead, he took pains to write the church ahead of time, urging them to solve their problems before he arrived and thus avoid a power battle.
Avoiding domination by others, Paul relates that, “Some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you” (Galatians 2:4–5).
Jesus balanced his leadership by carefully listening to and obeying his Father God. He explains, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
Again he tells us, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me” (John 5:19; 8:28). His model is simply listen, obey and serve.
Even while he was being jostled and pushed in the midst of the crowd, Jesus, extremely aware of what was going on within himself, suddenly stops and asked, “Who touched me?”
“Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.”
And sure enough, “When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him, explaining why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. ‘Daughter,’ he said to her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace’ ” (Luke 8:45–48).
As he lived in a religious-political world swamped with hundreds of rules, Jesus gives just one commandment, “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you love each other.” He promises, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34–35).
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).
With Jesus, let’s listen, obey, and serve. “Dear friends ... keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude).
John Parker serves with Connections Simple Church of Chowchilla. He is available to coach individuals or groups who want to succeed. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 564-7201.