Praise from men or Praise from God

In case you haven't noticed I like to entertain. It started when I was a kid. I would practice lots of different voices for my Star Wars and Lego figures. It continued when I got my first cassette tape player and began recording made up news reports and athletic events, and even some of my own Star Wars and Lego adventures. By the time my parents got their first camcorder I knew exactly what that thing was for, creating my own movies. And I did.

It was always hard for me when others were not NEARLY as entertained by what I first put on film and now digital recordings. "Watch this! It's great!" And the response is "Meh, what is going on?"

So several years back I realized what Moira has now put on matching shirts for Ezekiel and I - "No One Will Ever Be As Entertained By Us As We Are". And I have come to grips with that.

A few years back another shirt was created because another idea. The shirt read "An Audience of One". The idea behind the shirt was from Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men."

Jesus was very specific in speaking of praying, giving, and fasting that these acts should be done privately and not for show. However, Paul tells us that "whatever" we do should be done for the Lord (meaning not for show) but enthusiastically for Him.

This can be a struggle for us "entertainers". And all of us have a little entertainer in us. We all want acceptance (and praise) from others. In fact in John 12 after the procession into Jerusalem John gives us this little nugget, "Even though He had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him." (John 12:37)

They had seen Jesus. They had heard Him teach. They had seen the miracles, but still they did not believe. John explains that part of this is that they were "blinded" by God, but he also offers this as an eerie reason-

"Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the leaders, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved the praise from men more than the praise from God." --John 12:42-43

Sound familiar? How often have you sought to "entertain" men and kept your faith in God hidden? How often have you worried over social status or conformity to the status quo over pleasing God? How often have you wanted, loved, "the praise from men more than the praise from God"?

I know there are times I have. And in those times I have to remember John's and Paul's words and confess my sin to God. And when those moments come again I must remember the "Audience of One" that I should be "enthusiastically" loving, serving, and pleasing.

I will continue to entertain. (Hopefully someone will laugh once in a while besides me.) But in the end my hope is that it is my Father in heaven who watches and says "Well done."

And may that always be enough applause.


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