In the seventies, singer Ricky Nelson performed at Madison Square Garden and left the stage when the crowd began to boo. Naturally he assumed the boos were because he was performing new songs rather than his older more popular music. Some believe the boos had nothing to do with his performance at all but rather something happening in the crowd. His response to this event was to write a new song called Garden Party. The lyrics say, “Ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself”.
Sometimes life can be disappointing. At times, friends, family, and strangers may do and say things that hurt us. We feel like the crowd is booing us, and like Ricky Nelson we want to run off the stage and quit. Like the song says, we can’t please everyone, so we’ve got to please ourselves. In a sense this is true, but what really matters is that we are satisfied that we’re doing what God wants us to do.
2 Corinthians 5:9 says, “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (NIV). If we need approval, comments, or recognition from others, our focus is on ourselves rather than pleasing God. Its human nature to find our value in the words of others, but no matter how hard we try we will never be able to please everyone. We then find ourselves feeling hurt, angry, or disappointed. As long as God is pleased with what we are doing, it shouldn’t matter what friends, family, or even strangers think about us. Do what you do because it pleases God, and try not to worry about being acknowledged by others.
Out of Ricky Nelson’s pain of feeling rejected by his fans, a hit song was created. He didn’t give up but instead used that difficult experience and kept singing and writing. Avoid the temptation to run from the stage of service to God. Keep your focus and motivation only on pleasing Him and keep serving. It won’t always be easy, but there are many blessings in doing so. Colossians 1:10 says, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (NIV). How much more valuable to hear “well done good and faithful servant” from our heavenly Father, than to focus on the praise or condemnation of man! Be encouraged by the support of others, but don’t let a lack of support determine your value as a person or servant of God.