“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” – Colossians 3:24-25 (NIV).
At the height of the civil rights movement in the US once Dr Martin Luther King Jr was attacked by fellow church ministers for waging a non violent campaign in the segregated city of Birmingham. In his response, King noted he was always hesitant to respond to each and every critic, because, “If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk… I would have no time for constructive work”!
Jesus was too a target of harsh criticism, some even below the belt. Once after casting our a demon from one man, “when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This Man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons” (Mathew 12:24). Yet other than dwell on responding and explaining himself to every critic, he carried on faithfully with his mission. When they finnaly had him nailed up on the cross on false charges, his last powerful words were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24).
Today we remember Jesus and his mission; but only refer to his critics in passing. Of course there is criticism that is positive, possibly provoked out of ignorance or desire for better. Yet there is so often criticism which is nothing but plain negative motivated only to kill good works.
This shouldn’t be much of your concern. Once US President Theodore Roosevelt noted, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; …who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat!”
Today, if you are facing a heap of negative criticism be encouraged, for your good works in Christ will outlast all the venom and naysayers!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit you help me persevere in good works, for a rich reward awaits such, this I pray in Jesus’s name.