Do the right thing

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:
Succeed anyway. 

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you:
Be honest and frank anyway. 

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight:
Build anyway. 

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. 

Mother Teresa

Our spiritual walk may be hindered by others in at least three different ways.  It may be through their criticism, their failures, or even their success. 

We have all been subject to the criticism of others.  Even well meaning remarks may divert us from the path to which we are called by the Lord.  I have been advised, for example, that to share the Gospel of Christ with my patients would destroy my medical practice.  Others have questioned the emphasis on individuals and suggested that more could be accomplished by focusing on a group ministry.  Some have been critical of the entire Navigator ministry of disciple-making.  It is well to remember that even David’s friends were so opposed to him at one point that they talked of stoning him!  I Samuel 30:6 states that in this situation David “found his strength in the Lord.”  Although criticism must be evaluated as to its validity, the strength we need to find in these times is in the Lord.  To find strength in the Lord we must spend time with Him, sit at His feet as did Mary, listening to Him.  This process requires simplicity, solitude, silence and surrender. 

The spiritual failures of others have a negative impact on our lives as well.  The Apostle Paul described this when he spoke of Demas in II Timothy 4:10:  “for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”  We can all number those of our friends and acquaintances who no longer are involved in the cause of Christ.  Some of these are because of overt sin, and others because of involvement with worldly pursuits.  Some of these are those with whom we have spent considerable time helping in their faith journey and discipleship.  I Corinthians 15:58 reminds us that all that is done for the Lord is not in vain.  All that His Spirit does through us is ultimately by Him and for Him.  We are called to be faithful in His eyes, not successful in our own eyes. 

Our spiritual walk may also be hindered by comparing our lives with others.  Their ministry may be more successful than what God has called us to do.  It may be more visible, more popular, or receive more acclaim by others.  It is well to remember the Lord’s words to Peter as he compared his calling with that of John.  “Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? Youl must follow me.”  John 21:22

Safety and security in our spiritual walk depend on our stedfast looking unto Him, “the Author and Perfecter of our faith.”  Hebrews 12:2  As Mother Teresa writes:

                                        You see, in the final analysis,

                                         it is between you and God;

                                         It was never between you and them anyway. 

 

In Christ, Richard Spann

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