From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.
Here is a truth you can take to the bank: if you have a dream, you are going to have opposition to that dream. In fact, the greater your goal, the greater the opposition you can expect. Every leader understands that. Whether he is trying to lead a group of people, trying to lead his business, trying to lead his family, or simply trying to lead himself to a better place, he is going to run into problems.
Recently I came across a different perspective about problems we face. Maybe you have some difficulty you are facing in your job, for example. Here is what somebody has said: “A person should be grateful every hour of every day for the troubles of his job. Those troubles pay at least half his salary. For if it weren’t for his troubles, it would be easy to get somebody else to do the work for half of what he gets paid. If he wants a bigger job with a bigger income, he has to look for more troubles and learn how to solve them. A bigger job will usually gravitate to him, often actually seek him out. If he is capable of coping with problems and troubles that go with it, he will rise upward in his job.” That is a positive way of looking at problems, isn’t it?
Nehemiah was a leader who had a goal. He wanted to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem for the glory of God. But Nehemiah soon ran into difficulties as he pursued that goal. In fact, in Nehemiah 4 and 5, we discover three obstacles Nehemiah encountered as he tried to rebuild that wall. Next week, we are going to look at the problem of negative feelings. And in two weeks, we will see how Nehemiah had to deal with negative circumstances. He lacked the resources that he needed to fulfill his dream. But this week, we are going to look at the first and perhaps greatest obstacle Nehemiah faced: the obstacle of negative people–that is, criticism. Chuck Swindoll observed, “You haven’t really led until you have become familiar with the stinging barbs of the critic.” If you are trying to lead your company to new heights, if you are trying to retrain for a new job, if you are trying to rear godly children, if you are trying to improve your relationship with God–no matter what your dream in life is, you are going to face criticism of that dream.
Would you like to be free from criticism? Would you like to have a life that nobody ever criticized you for anything? If so, I have got a surefire formula for you. Somebody has said, “If you want to avoid criticism, all you have to do is do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Those who want to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing are never criticized. But if you have a worthwhile dream, be ready to handle criticism. How do you do that? In Nehemiah 4, we are going to look at three secrets for surviving, but also thriving, with criticism.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Surviving And Thriving With Criticism” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Charles R. Swindoll, “Hand Me Another Brick: Timeless Lessons On Leadership,” rev. ed. (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998), 65.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org