We've received some "collateral heat" from Tim Steven's interview a few weeks back. The "Summer Nights" sketch that we were a part of has been getting a lot more hits (now over 20,000) since the interview. The comments are in line with what Tim has received. We, honestly Lisa, was feeling a little beaten up. A teammate and friend of mine Brian Warrell, encouraged us with this from Chuck Swindoll's book Hand Me Another Brick:
Every leader must develop the ability to measure the value or worth of criticism. He has to determine the source and the motive, and has to listen with discernment. Sometimes the best course of action is to graciously accept the criticism and learn form it. Other times, it must be strongly resisted.
Nehemiah's critics were constantly in agreement with one another, and their reaction was not a quiet, mildly disinterested one. No, they were angry! They became sarcastic. Look at the sarcasm in verse 3 "Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him [Sanballat] and he said "Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!'"
Can you imagine a comment like that? But Tobiah made a crucial mistake. He claimed that a mere fox "would break their stone wall down." But what they built was not "their" stone wall. The Lord wanted the wall built. He happened to use Nehemiah as the construction superintendent, but God commissioned the work and owned the final product. Carping critics typically look at the situations from a human point of view-their walls, their plans, their comfort, their procedure, their arrangement-usually wrapping their derision in carefully crafted logic or, even worse, cleverly contorted Scripture. They don't stop to think that they may be criticizing God's project.
People who look at life from the human point of view have problems with projects that require steps of faith. We as leaders who are Christian need to ask ourselves, "Am I really looking to God for vision, for growth, and for direction, or am I taking the easy way out, allowing the status quo to earn approval from my peers and to keep my position secure?" If we earnestly and genuinely seek God's best for our lives, we must keep our eyes open and our attitudes positive-not lacking discernment, but remaining focused and positive. And we must never forget that those who are, by nature, negative and critical will always, always be around to create opposition. Nevertheless, the work , must go on. Progress should not stop because a loud minority to disparage us or hinder the plan.
Good stuff and a great reminder to keep focused on the work, not on the critics.