I began delivering the afternoon newspaper in my rural Charlotte neighborhood as a 9-year-old boy. There were some hazards in that job. Dogs chased me almost every day, and I was the recipient of a few bites from our canine companions.
The weather did not always cooperate with me. I had to deliver the newspapers, even if it was raining. When it was snowing or ice was on the road, I still had papers to get to each front porch. If it was so hot you could fry an egg on the pavement, I had to mount my bicycle and serve my customers. If I did not feel well, I still had to deliver the daily paper.
As part of the job, I knocked on each customer’s door to collect money for the newspapers I provided them. Obviously, there was no online payment system in those days. Some were not able to pay, so I had to schedule a return visit. Sometimes the other spouse had the checkbook and sometimes the check bounced.
Dealing with unhappy customers was not unusual. Sometimes their newspaper was wet, in the bushes or just missing.
So, a second trip to their home was added to my day, and I was dealt a scowl, occasionally accompanied by a few harsh words. I had special appreciation for those who were kind and understanding.
I learned a lot about responsibility and dependability in those days. I also learned a few lessons about working with people: you can’t please everyone, some people are just having a bad day and some need a little extra grace at the moment.
My parents taught me to do my best and be responsible, no matter the obstacles and challenges I faced.
Almost 60 years later, after one of the most unexpected turns in my life, I am now in my sixth year as the editor of a newspaper. I did not see that one coming!
Between these two newspaper jobs, I spent 17 years getting a formal education – and still learning today – and 36 years serving local churches as a minister of evangelism, executive pastor and senior pastor.
Although there have been many changes in my world, some things remain constant. One of those unchanging realities is this: you can’t please everyone. Some readers of the Biblical Recorder want us to say more; some wish we had said less. Some want us to tell their life story or publicize their new book. Some don’t want their story told or they want it sanitized.
One person falsely accused us of being pro-abortion. Although she had no evidence, the woman insisted she was right and did not want to receive the Recorder any longer. On the contrary, we had just published a front-page story and many related articles promoting the biblical position on the sanctity of human life. I have a life-long record of firm pro-life convictions. I was completely dumbfounded by her accusations, but the discussion ended. You can’t please everybody, even when the facts are in your favor.
An amazing truth has sustained me along my journey. Although it is impossible to please imperfect people, it possible to please the perfect God of all creation. That is astounding!
King David said he wanted to please God in Psalm 19:41 – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, the Bible says Enoch’s testimony was simply, “he was pleasing to God” (Hebrews 11:5). The next verse explains how anyone can be pleasing to the eternal, perfect God of all creation.
Hebrews 11:6 is clear. Without faith, it is “impossible” to please God. In other words, pleasing God is not a performance. There are a thousand things we might to do in our attempts to please God – serve in the church, give money to missions, go on a mission trip or live a good life. But if the act of faith is not part of what we are doing, there is no way we can please God.
The Christian life is a life of faith. It is an ongoing series of faith decisions and faith actions.
In 2018, your Biblical Recorder staff will do our best to provide news and information for our readers. It is not likely that we will please everyone, but we will try to please God. Our aim is that believers will grow and become reproducing disciples, that churches will be stronger and more effective in their communities, and that North Carolina Baptists will partner together to impact lostness everywhere.
Thank you for reading the Biblical Recorder. Thank you for allowing us to encourage you and your fellow church members with news and information from a biblical worldview. Thank you for subscribing to the print and digital issues. And thank you for visiting our website.
Speaking of the website, 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the Recorder’s website. In September 1997, this N.C. Baptist newspaper launched one of the first websites among Baptist newspapers worldwide. It is our goal to continue to lead the way with a strong online presence for Baptists around the world. Thank you for your support!
Most read editorials
The editor’s top five most read editorials on BRnow.org in 2017: