Who You Gonna Listen To?

Sometimes it can be a blessing and sometimes it can be a burden to listen to the feedback of those around you. On any given Sunday after preaching a message or teaching a lesson, I usually hear both sides. Those who say they have been blessed and edified and those who express a different viewpoint which is usually packaged with much grace, which I appreciate. You simply have to keep this kind of feedback in perspective.

After being out with an injury for several weeks, quarterback Peyton Manning returned to the field last weekend to a standing ovation, as he led Denver to a come from behind victory. Being a long time football fan, it was thrilling to watch. Later, however, Peyton put the fan’s response into perspective.

“I’m pretty sure they were sitting in the same seats when they were booing six weeks ago after my fourth interception,” he said in a postgame interview.

That’s right. The last time Peyton played was in November, while dealing with a fractured foot. His performance had been somewhat subpar, and the fans let him know: They booed him off the field.

Peyton took it all in stride, focusing instead on getting healthy again. Last week’s standing ovation, he also takes in stride. “I’m pretty level-headed about this,” he says.

We will do well to remember the fickle nature of adulation: how quickly cheers turn to jeers, and then (occasionally) to cheers again. Just look at the life of Jesus Christ our Lord. Playing to please the crowd puts you on a fast track to discouragement, because the crowd cannot be pleased — not for long anyway. And all too often, what pleases them most is, in the long run, what really matters the least.

Paul gave us a good example to follow:

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Put the cheers and jeers into perspective and choose to take them in stride; your approval rating will change from week to week. Determine, instead, to please God above everything else.

About scon777

Pastor/Teacher at Grace Bible Church in Redwood City, CA since 1998.
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