By Rick Walker
In a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris. on April 23. 1910. Theodore Roosevelt regaled his audience. He spoke of the history of France and the history of the United States. He compared the two and showed how they came to be great world powers through the ardent use of their physical and mental faculties. Yet he noted that whether in the field of physical or mental exertions there will always ne those who criticize. That portion of the speech is given below.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Criticism! It seems as though the Lord's people have had to deal with this since Noah built a boat. In the New Testament our Lord was constantly surrounded critics. He was criticized for hanging out “... with tax-gatherers and sinners,” (Mark 2:16; Luke 15:2). He was criticized for helping others on the Sabbath, (see John 5:16; 9:16; etc.). They even criticized Him for criticizing them, (Mark 3:1-6). So, we may as well accept what our Lord said, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” (John 15:20).
There is an old saying, “Those who are busy rowing the boat generally don't have time to rock it.” I truly think most critics would be willing to get involved, if …(there wasn't someone like them around who would stand and criticize them!). That being the case, let us take Roosevelt's advice and not concern ourselves with what others think. If the Lord is pleased, then what difference does it make what others say? Who knows perhaps when they see how much fun we are having they may come down off their high horse and join with us.