Daily Devotional for Saturday February 8, 2003

The Praise of Men

(John 12:43)

The praise of men. There is the time of year when the television is full of awards shows. The music industry has their Grammy, the movie industry the Oscar, in sports there is the ESPY, their are the catchall awards like the Golden Globe and Peoples Choice, even the Christian music world has their Dove Award. It is always special when people single out your work and give you praise. The Bible even encourages us to "give honor to whom honor is due". However, the point of today's Devotional is very simple. Do we live our lives for the praise of man or the praise of God? Let me assure you that it is easier to get the praise of God than of man, and it is praise that is not temporary but eternal!!!

You see, trying to please man is an impossible task, because what is expected and required of us changes so often. You can try your entire life to please man, but you will be most sad and frustrated because it is not possible. The wonderful thing about God is that he has told us in His word what He expects, thus we know without a doubt what is required of us. The other problem with the praise of man is that it is so temporary. How many people in the entertainment, athletic, even industry you may be part of are "hot" for a period of time, then are all but forgotten. The praise of man is fleeting, temporal. The praise of God is everlasting.

I realize that many of you struggle with this issue. Trying to get the praise of someone in your life, whether it be in school, professionally, or in some sort of relationship. I am not saying not to try to please others, or do a good job. What I am saying is that your first priority is to please God. So many email me how distraught they are because they just can't seem to make this person or that person happy. Continue to try, but always remember that your goal should not be to receive the praise of a man, but the praise of God. I realized a very long time ago that I could not make everyone happy. No matter how hard I tried it just wasn't possible. I still do my best each day, but in that effort, I never forget that ultimately it is God that I have to please.

Even though everyone else may not like what I do, as long as I am doing what God wants, and He is pleased, then I have succeeded. We see the human cry of the prophets in the Old Testament. Complaining how nobody would listen to them. Nobody was willing to heed their warnings. How frustrated they were. I can guarantee you this. None of those guys were ever going to receive any awards from their city, but they were receiving far greater rewards from God because of their faithfulness.

In the Book of Acts, Stephen's reward for preaching the Gospel was death by stoning. Even though those around him were so upset they literally stoned him to death, Jesus rose from His throne and stood to welcome Stephen into heaven because of his faithfulness!!!!!!

I love you and care about you so much. I pray today that you will never forget that it is God who we must ultimately please each and every day. I don't know about you, but like most, I enjoy the praise of man. However, I do not live for that. I live my life for the praise of God and to one day hear those words, "well done thou good and faithful servant".

In his love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller