There was a concert pianist in the last century that longed to play in the great concert hall in Vienna. When he finished his first concert before thousands, the people gave him a standing ovation.
Afterwards, he was asked, “Was it the greatest moment in your life to receive this long applause?” The concert pianist replied, “No! I liked it, but it was not the most important thing to me.”
He said, “When the people all sat down, an elderly man who sat in the top corner of the balcony simply nodded his head at me. That was the greatest moment of my life because he is the master who taught me for 30 years. One nod from him was worth much more than the long applause of the masses.
We all play to an audience –even the self-deluded that go around and tell others that, “they don’t care what others think about them.” We all concern ourselves with the thoughts and expectations of others; albeit some have a larger audience while others have a smaller …yet, we all care. And there is nothing wrong with caring. In fact, the Bible tells us to care what others think … let me restate, the Bible informs us to care what the right person thinks. In short, our lives should be directed to a proper audience member. Take for example what the Apostle Paul writes in the book of Galatians, “For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” See that word, “please” above? The Greek term used is, ar-es'-ko which means, to accommodate one's self to the opinions, desires and interests of others. Here Paul places mankind’s two ultimate conclusions right next to each other; either you will mind man or God. There is an ultimate standard to which everyone of us will appeal. In fact, some of Jesus’ most popular teachings deal with this issue, “There is no servant who can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will honor the one and he will neglect the other …” (Luke 16:13).
Hear this, I am not commissioning you to drive into the wilderness or ignore all humanity, this is a call for you to draw a line in the sand as to whom you will give ultimate allegiance to. I promise you, when you do this many many (many) things will begin to shift in your life. And since I can’t help to stop my pastoral heart from beating when I offer this challenge, I offer to help you along this journey …