I had a friend who I consider to be a brother. If he ever called me for help, I would be there. This friend once shared the following story with me. It helped me prioritize a few things.
A long time ago, in ancient Israel, an old man took his grandson to market with him. He loaded up his ass (That is what they called donkeys in the ancient languages) with his goods for sale, and sat his grandson on top.
In order to get into Jerusalem, he had to cross a bridge that connected his village to a neighboring Palestinian territory. As he was walking the ass, with his grandson on top, he heard two of the Palestine locals shouting to each other:
“Hey, Abdul, do you see how selfish that boy is, making his elder walk while he rides?”, shouted Ahmed.
ABDUL: “I see that, some children have no manners!”
So, the old man took his grandson off the ass and put himself on it and tried crossing the bridge again.
“Hey, Ahmed, do you see how cruel that old man is being, making that boy walk while he rides in comfort on the ass?’, shouted Abdul
AHMED: “I see that, some old men have no manners!”
So, the old man stopped, placed his grandson on top of the ass with himself, so they both can ride together, and not walk, then they started across the bridge, yet again.
“Hey, Abdul, do you see how cruel that old man and the boy are being to the ass, making the poor beast carry all that load?”, shouted Ahmed
ABDUL: “Some people don’t even care about their own livestock!”
SO, the old man placed his grandson on top of the ass, made sure his goods for sale were securely secured on the ass, and then picked up the ass and carried it.
Half way across the bridge, the old man tripped on a loose board, sending the ass, his grandson and himself in to the river below.
The old man could hear Abdul and Ahmed laughing as he plunged in to the water.
The Moral of the story: If you try to please everybody, you can loose your ass.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Pro 16:7 – ESV