Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
Once before my salvation, I visited the local Art in the Park art show. The artist painted planets hurtling across the canvas. I liked them. They looked professional and finished. But a visitor to the show asked the artist, “Where do you get your ideas?”
The artist answered, “The Lord gives them to me.”
Suddenly I didn’t enjoy the paintings so much. I have a degree in art and God never gave me a painting. I didn't serve God, but I felt like the rejected little girl watching the favored child. If I weren't in my thirties, I might have kicked the artist in the shins.
“Who does he think HE is that God gives him paintings?”
“They aren’t THAT good.”
“He’s such a big shot that God gives him paintings?”
Behold, jealousy (envy) at work. The artist did what God called us to do. He gave glory to God. Why didn’t I rush to get what he had? Instead, I took offense.
Years ago, Dr. Chuck Swindoll told a story of working in a job before he became a pastor. His coworkers hated him. He worked too hard. The Lord wants us to honor our jobs by doing our best, but Dr. Swindoll raised the standard and outshone the other men.
We must do the right thing, but people won’t admire us for it. Whether they do is unimportant. It’s our job to give glory to God. But the world will take offense.
Some Christians tread softly when telling others about Christ. We need not be obnoxious, but our listener may take offense, unless the harvest is ripe. Better to offend the listener than to offend our Lord who decreed that we tell them. If one person in a hundred responds to our message, the other ninety-nine don’t count (for now).
A salesman makes cold calls. He gets hung-up on and abused. But if every tenth person buys from him, the salesman becomes rich. He won’t remember the other nine.
And thirty years later, I remember the artist in the park as a man of God.
Dear Lord: Please let me always do my best and give glory to You no matter who may hate me for it.
Image: "Beyond the Home Planet" by Lynette Cook. Gallery
Not the painting mentioned in the article