The Office is my favorite television comedy in a long, long time. Each week it seems the employees of Dunder-Mifflin have me laughing so hard that I cry. And then once I wipe my tears away, I am often left with a profound lesson about being self-centered, power-hungry, or desperate for attention.
Consider a couple of quotes from Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) who is the regional manager of Dunder-Mifflin —
As a child: “I wanna be married and have 100 kids so I can have 100 friends, and no one can say no to being my friend.”
And as an adult: “I guess the atmosphere that I’ve tried to create here is that I’m a friend first and a boss second, and probably an entertainer third.”
The scenes with these lines were hilarious. But once the laughter dies there is a serious issue being addressed. Michael is so desperate for approval that he will say anything and do anything to please people. This struggle is consistently seen in Michael’s life at work and in relationships.
This is an occupational hazard for ministers. Some people have found the best way to achieve the approval they crave is to be in ministry. And some will say anything and do anything to get the approval they so desperately seek. So ministry becomes more about seeking “friends” and being an “entertainer” than it is about service for God.
Paul’s words are good for me —
“Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant” Galatians 1:10 NLT).
O God, keep my motives pure, so that my service is to please You, for Your glory.