The other day I was sitting in a meeting discussing the topic of “people pleasers”. Everyone in the room was convinced this was a serious sin. Example after example, explanation after explanation of how people pleasers have a jacked up worldview. To an extent they are right. We don’t live to please man we live to please God. But this is where they stopped. Nothing else. I sat there for a while before I injected into the conversation, I said something along the lines of “your right… BUT there seems to be something about Paul that indicates he would do anything for others short of sinning to advance the gospel.” Another responded, “seriously”, acknowledging (from what I could grasp) the disbelief among those in the room that I didn’t provide another example or explanation for how people pleasers are evil. It is funny… no one has a problem acknowledging that there is something bigger than themselves. Even atheists have to admit that something, whatever you want to call it, is bigger than they are. For before any of us entered this world something was and after we exit it something will still be. But when it comes to acknowledging that those less than us, those who are the scum of the earth, are the ones we are called to love and serve what craftier way to remove oneself from service than to say “I don’t want to be a people pleaser”? If Paul lived that way likely none of us would have heard the Gospel. Thankfully, we do not have to understand every detail about God (for if we could would He really be God?). But we must understand and embrace the Good News, the story of God’s love displayed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A message that is foolishness to those who reject it. It is a message that proclaims God’s love not just for himself but for us. A message we are called to embrace as we seek to love not just God but others. Hence, we are not first, or even second, but third. We come last. I love the “I am second” videos (I even added one above), but I think they would be better tittled “I am third”. Don’t let others castrate the great commandment … we must love God and we must love others. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.

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