A few weeks ago, I found myself peddling the Walmart aisles for a graduation card. Honestly, I didn’t give it much effort. I knew my friend didn’t care about the type of card. Hallmark? A piece of paper folded hamburger style with stick people? He didn’t care. And neither did I. Until I found the perfect one: a card based on the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.
I’m not so sure if he likes Dr. Seuss. But I do. The creative illustrations, catchy wordplay, and rhythmic flow awaken my inner-child. But there’s something special about “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” Consider a couple of quotes.
I’ve been the one surrounded by encouraging people after preaching a sermon. But I’ve also been the one ignored and seemingly rejected. And I’m learning to be okay with both.
I often find myself deceived by the applause of man. Every time I publish a message, I find myself discouraged. I hardly ever get the response that I expect. Each week, I pour my heart into the Bible. Sometimes, to the point of mental exhaustion. Only to receive a handful of likes on Facebook. And it’s quite discouraging.
But I shouldn’t even think those thoughts. Let alone write them. But I doubt I’m the only one who tries to please people over God. And so, here’s a message to people pleasers like me.
It’s a well-known idiom. But to me, it means something more.
One of my favorite people in the Bible is John the Baptist. I preach about him quite a bit. And today is no different. After all, John the Baptist ranks among the most humble of any human in Scripture.
John is noted for saying, “‘He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease’” (John 3:30 ESV).
Preparing the way for Christ, John the Baptist was not liked by many. This landed him a spot in prison. He did nothing wrong. But John was unwilling to compromise his commitment to the Gospel.
I can relate to Jeremiah.
He writes, “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’
Then I said, ‘Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’
But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD’” (Jer. 1:4-8 ESV).
Last Friday, I found myself depressed. I opened God’s Word, and He began speaking this message to my heart. I pray it helps someone.
“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:66-69 ESV).
I’m drawn to this story. Why? Because I find myself pondering Peter’s question: “Lord, to whom shall we go?”