One of my heroes from afar is Mother Teresa. She was amazing! She also wrote one of my favorite poems that ties into the point from last night’s Bibles study about living for the applause of one. I believe it is called, “Anyway”.
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
…Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
…Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
…Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
…Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
…Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
…Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Living for the applause of God alone and doing what is right regardless of what other people think is foundational to staying on point and finishing well when living a life of faith and purpose. The influence of social media in today’s culture has caused us to be constantly bombarded with the temptation to live for the approval or applause of others. The number of likes we get or the comments people make on one of our posts can send us on a rollercoaster of emotion that can be sickening. While I have a lot of room to grow in this area, I have found that learning to live for the applause of God alone is liberating. As we discussed last night we are not living in such a way as to earn God’s acceptance. When you surrendered your life to Christ you were accepted and loved right where you were. It is because we are accepted, because we are deeply loved that we want to live in such a way as to honor him. In our study last night we saw that Daniel lived this way and he finished his race of life strong. That does not mean it was always easy. God’s favor was on him but there were times when he found himself to be the target of other people’s envy and jealousy. Remember that the verse we closed with last night said that no weapon formed against you would prosper. It did not say that there would be no weapon formed against you—because there will be. Doing the right thing and living the life of faith will not always be popular and being unfairly attacked should not come as a surprise. It happened to Daniel. It happened to many others in the Bible. But the weapon formed against them did not prosper and neither will it prosper against you. Trust the God who shut the mouths of the lions and live to honor him. Here is the verse for memorizing should you choose to do so. See you next week as we look at the story of Esther.