While studying for an upcoming opportunity of ministry on the mission field, I ran across some thoughts from a sermon series I preached from the book of Ezra, May 2004.
Hillsdale was in the midst of relocation and the church was facing trials from without (a corrupt contractor, several dishonest subcontractors, and mounting legal fees) and critics from within. I praise the Lord for all He taught us through those trying times and for how much He has blessed us for persevering. I hope these ponderings might be a blessing to some.
Thoughts from “Be Not Discouraged” – May 16, 2004
I have learned the bent of some is negative and critical. Critics are generally spectators, not participators; they are watchers, not workers. They sit in the grandstands of life never knowing the enthusiasms and exhilaration of those who have chosen to give and risk all.
While some choose to bear the stains of sweat and blood, giving their lives to a cause greater than themselves, critics watch from comfortable pews.
While a few sacrifice much, critics contribute little. Generally, while you are giving everything, critics are giving nothing. When you need encouragement, critics convey discouragement. When you need a helping hand, critics give you a heavy heart.
I close with a quote that was no doubt the inspiration for the thoughts I just shared and is taken from a speech titled, “Man in the Arena” given by the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) in Paris, Sorbonne, April 23, 1910.
“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 strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith