“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” — Colossians 3:23
It doesn’t take a whole lot of research to find evidence that people are a terrible source for affirmation. On a Friday, they’ll applaud you entering a city. By Sunday, they’re calling for your death (see the last week of Jesus’ life in Matthew 21-28).
When it comes to the life of an athlete, the crowd will turn on you just as quickly. One minute you’re the darling of the team, and the next you don’t even know if you’re wanted anymore. If you gauge how well you’re doing by the applause of people, you’ll have a volatile, unstable, misinformed existence.
This is true for a number of reasons. First, the crowd doesn’t know enough about the game. They’ll applaud things that aren’t even helpful for the game plan. This is true in our spiritual lives as well. The crowd will applaud things that aren’t good for your walk with Christ. Second, the crowd only cares about the moment in front of them. Did you score? Applause. Did you miss? Groans. It’s no real indicator of your skill. Again, we’re not defined by every moment.
Instead, look to the One who knows your true substance and has a plan for your life that is much bigger and better than one moment. Biblical wisdom tells us to work for the Lord, not for “human masters” (Colossians 3:23). If you live for the applause of man, you’re destined for discouragement.
— Steve Hawthorne, New York Red Bulls chaplain
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