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When goals trump gripes

To hear this Morning Devotion, please click  When goals trump gripes



Some of the griping that we face in life is not related to what we’re doing wrong, but instead what we’re doing right.

Yes, it’s true that our choices and actions are sometimes deserving of chastisement because we didn’t prepare well or we didn’t perform with passion.

It is also true, however, that we are randomly bombarded with baloney from people who really don’t like the progress we’re making for the Lord.

If you are a young adult having success in leading a “wild thing” young adult away from the party scene, you’re probably not going to be popular with that young person’s drinkin’ buddies. In fact, it would be a surprise if you didn’t have criticism leveled at you for being a hypocrite because of your past sins.

If you are an older adult having success in helping to lead a workplace — or even a congregation — away from mediocrity and into productivity, you just might face criticism from current or former employees/members who tried to do the same but weren’t successful.

Sadly, there are a number of times in our lives when we encounter people who don’t want us to succeed and who use words and actions to undercut us.

At such times, keeping our eyes and hearts on the mission is the only way to reach the goal.

That’s why prayer is SO important.

For prayer opens the door to our hearts and minds through which God can impart direction and resolve and power.

Prayer also provides for the infusion of discernment that is sorely needed when others are talking trash to us and about us.

I was reminded of all this while reading Nehemiah 5-7 this morning in my One-Year Bible. Nehemiah faced repeated schemes from people who didn’t want to see Jerusalem rebuilt after the exiles returned from Babylonian slavery.

It’s a compelling account that points to the depths of human scheming possible when people choose to serve themselves rather than the Lord.

The team of naysayers were focused on undercutting the re-establishment of Jerusalem as a worship/ministry/cultural/economic center. And I’m sure that the Devil was coaching the men such as Tobiah, Sanballat and Shemaiah, each of whom were committed to preventing the city’s return to the role ordained and desired by God.

The chapters offer an impressive example of leadership principles needed to overcome such poison. I encourage you to read Nehemiah 5-7 in order to be a better leader at your work, your congregation or your home.

Nehemiah and those joining with him in the rebuilding mission did succeed, but only because they understood the real agenda of their critics and did not take their eyes off the goal.

Be discerning, my friend. If others only crank up the complaining when you start chalking up successes toward worthy goals, then that should tell you something, shouldn’t it?

Pray that your critics will be persuaded by the Holy Spirit toward seeing your mission as a blessing to them rather than as a threat.

Oh, and one other thing…. don’t gripe back at them. Nehemiah and his team of thousands didn’t and look how God empowered their mission — the city’s entire wall was rebuilt in 52 days!

Listen, when people throw stones at you, remember to say “Thank you very much for the building block” and then use the stones to humbly build your city of faith.

Who knows that one of those critics might one day run to your “city” to find hope when he or she has lost all of his or hers?

As always, I love you

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