Chapter-a-Day Ezra 4

Angry Mandy!
Image by eVo photo via Flickr

So these people started beating down the morale of the people of Judah, harassing them as they built. They even hired propagandists to sap their resolve. They kept this up for about fifteen years, throughout the lifetime of Cyrus king of Persia and on into the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ezra 4:4-5 (MSG)

Through much of this life’s journey, I have found myself in different positions of leadership. From safety patrol captain in the 6th grade to student government and on to various minor positions of church, business, and civic leadership. With a natural bent to being a people pleaser, one of the most difficult and crucial lessons I’ve had to learn is that any worthwhile project you undertake will be criticized. For almost every opinion and proposal that you submit there will emerge a voice of criticism.

Aesop taught us in his fable of the tortoise and the hare that the race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep running. God’s Message tells us time and time again to keep pressing on. I can only imagine what is must have been like for Zerubbabel and the folks as, for 15 years, they daily went about the work of rebuilding the temple to the incessant criticism, taunts and threats of their critics and the thugs they hired for backup.

Today, I think about the projects on which I am engaged and the obstacles I face internally, spiritually, and publicly. Over time I like to think that I have gained some wisdom to discern which criticisms I should heed and which criticisms I should completely ignore. What I do know is that the criticism of others will always be there and if I let it paralyze me then I will accomplish nothing. All I can do is to  be faithful to keep pressing on through this new day that is dawning and apply myself diligently to that which I am called to accomplish.

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2 thoughts on “Chapter-a-Day Ezra 4”

  1. 4-5 So these people started beating down the morale of the people of Judah, harassing them as they built. They even hired propagandists to sap their resolve. They kept this up for about fifteen years, throughout the lifetime of Cyrus king of Persia and on into the reign of Darius king of Persia.

    I couldn’t help but think about lobbyists when I read this today. It seems they should have something better to do than spend all their time and money harassing our government officials. It’s pretty simple though, it works. They wouldn’t keep doing it if they didn’t get results. On a different note, we had small group last night. We have led small group for over 10 years. The reality of leadership is that you can’t keep everyone happy. Last night, some of our members voiced that they aren’t happy with how the year was planned out. Obviously, those same people weren’t at our planning meeting at the beginning of the year. While we have learned not to take it personally, it indeed saps your resolve when year after year someone complains about something. We will push on!

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