“We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives”.

1 Thess 2:4 GNB

People who speak in public often make a habit of ingratiating themselves with their hearers. They trot out what they know their audience will enjoy. Jokes are an easy way to do this. So is flattery, leg-pulling and pandering to the known tastes of the hearers. Some speakers can tell a good story and they soon know how to manipulate the situation to get on the right side of the listeners. Those travelling philosophers and teachers who posed such a strong threat to the apostles were very skilled at pleasing their hearers.

The Christian teachers and preachers, whilst learning tried and trusted methods of composing talks, set out to please God. When they have put their thoughts together, giving adequate attention to their preparation, they then offer their teaching or sermon as an offering to God. Their main objective is to convince their hearers of the truth of what God is saying through their words. They want to hide their own skills behind the immensity of their message.

“Leslie Weatherhead somewhere tells a story of a public schoolboy who decided to enter the ministry. He was asked when he had come to that decision. He said that he had come to it after hearing a sermon in his school chapel. He was asked the name of the preacher. His answer was that he had no memory of the preacher’s name; all he knew was that that preacher had shown him Jesus. The duty of the real preacher is to obliterate himself and to show people nothing but Jesus Christ” (W. Barclay, The Letter to the Hebrews, p222).

Encourage all preachers to do the same.


Lord, prompt all servants of the word to please you alone.


Lord, bless all the people who manage the purchasing and preparation of food in the homes of this nation. Help them to work with imagination to make meals attractive and enjoyable. Prompt those being fed to express their thanks for their meals. I ask it in Jesus’ name. AMEN