Once upon a time there was a man, a boy (the man’s son), and a donkey. The three were headed to the market. They had not gone far before they met a farmer. He said, “You are very foolish to walk to town and lead the donkey behind you. What is a donkey good for, if not to ride upon?” The man, wanting to please the farmer, put his son upon the donkey and away they went.
Soon, they met another who said, “See the lazy boy. He rides on the donkey while his poor father walks.” The father, not wanting to displease, exchanged places with the boy.
Next, they met two women who criticized saying, “Did you ever see so lazy a man? He rides and takes his ease, while his son walks.” The man, wanting to please everyone, pulled his son up on the donkey with him.
Finally, They passed some men who, seeing them both ride, said, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for being so cruel to that donkey. It is too much for so small an animal to carry so heavy a load.” Wanting to please everyone the father had a plan. He took a long pole and tied the donkey’s feet to it, and father and son began to carry the donkey. The father thought, “I think we’re pleasing everyone now.” But, as they crossed the bridge they stumbled; the donkey rolled into the river below, and drowned.
This is an ancient moral story. The point of which is that it is not always possible to please everyone.
We, as God’s people, need to get clear in our minds, who it is that we wish to please. Paul wrote, “Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9). He instructed, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God..” ( 2 Timothy 2:15).