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.