This morning, I finished watching the PBS two-part documentary on President Bill Clinton. It was a fascinating narrative of a president and a person who achieved much and failed, personally, just as much.
One of the common themes that came out in the documentary was how Clinton wanted to be liked. Whether it was in his elections in Arkansas or as president, Clinton has a desire to be liked by everyone. It might have been part of his undoing, personally, as a president.
The quest to be personally liked is one we all desire. None of us want to go through life being the person no one got along with. We all want and need community and fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters. It would be difficult to live life without community and the support of people who care for us and desire the best for us.
Being liked is one thing, but where we often struggle, especially those of us in ministry or in the public arena, is a full desire to be popular above being a servant. We become so desperate to be liked or accepted that we can easily lose sight of the greater purpose, which is to serve Christ.
It’s a fine line, to be sure, of a nature inclination to being liked and to seeking popularity for popularity’s sake. Perhaps, for each person that fine line is going to be different. Regardless of where our line is, the question we should often ask ourselves is this: Why are we doing the things we are doing? Are we doing them to only receive the respect and adoration of our peers or are we truly seeking to be servants of the Risen Lord? That is a difficult question to ask, because it requires us to look deep within our soul to check our motives and to align our entire self with God’s desires.
There is no better time than during this season of Lent to look within ourselves and question our motives and purposes for doing the things we do. We may like what we find out, and, then again, we may not. But, in looking within we allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us into what it truly means to live as Christ’s servant followers.