When I was Freshman in College the school that I attended had a popularity contest. It wasn’t really a contest; it was just a class survey that everyone filled out. There were several categories that each student was supposed to put a name behind, “Most likely to succeed, ” Smartest, ” “Most liked, ” and several other categories. I remember two things about the survey, I wasn’t in the top ten in any of the categories, and Patty Burtner, now Patty Duke, was voted “Most liked or Most Popular.” How we got together and ended up marrying is a mystery to everyone who knew us both.
So if you wanted to win the “Most Popular” category and had six months to impress, influence, and win people over to voting for you, what would you do, how would you act?
2 Timothy 2:24-25 has a description of what to do. “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition,”
There are two reasons to work hard at being liked; one is because of your ego, the second is because you want to increase your ability to influence people toward faith in Christ. The fact is the more people genuinely like you, the more influence you have in their life.
When I started Pastoring, I had several mentors that I met regularly with, experienced Pastors and leaders who taught me how to succeed in ministry. One of them was Dr. Joe Aldrich who was President of Multnomah Bible College. I learned a lot from him, and I remember a lot of what he taught me because he had these “sayings” that he would repeat regularly. One of them was, “We are supposed to love everybody but some are easier to love than others, if you are going to Pastor people you have to be loveable, people won’t learn from or follow someone who is not.”
The first time he said that I thought, “I am in trouble; I probably ought to go back to dairy farming.” Over the years I have made being a person that people like a major pursuit of my life. It really helps being married to Patty and learning from her because she really is very lovable. I have read many books on the subject and observe those who I enjoy being with and try to learn from them.
I often hear people say, “I don’t care if people like me or not, ” or, “that is just the way I am, take me or leave me.” I used to say that because I am an introvert, not very outgoing or personable but as Dr. Joe often said, “we have the ability to grow and change, especially if our motive is pure. We are not changing who and what we are, we are changing how we act.”
Back to 2 Timothy 2:24, “ The Lord’s bond-servant must. . .” That means it is required and that we can.