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Looking For Praise

Humans are a strange lot.  Of all of God’s creation, we are the most gifted in our abilities to create, build, and explore vast horizons.  We love the challenge of that which is difficult.  The more something appears to be impossible, the more some will try their best (sometimes, even paying with their lives) to be the one that conquered that which had been deemed out-of-reach.

Although each person seeking to “dream the impossible dream” has their own motivation for doing so, one thing that every thrill seeker has in common is the applause and accolades of the crowd.  In the months of training just to become fit enough to attempt the feat, there are weeks and sometimes, months of working out, running, or training alone.  Depending on what one aspires to be, there are years of practicing in solitude.  No one is there to cheer for the girl or boy at the gym, ice rink, ski slope, or track exercising no matter what.  Who ever applauded the hours of rudimentary practice required to play classical pieces of music with perfect ease?  How many people drive alongside a runner as he/she runs for hours to build their cardio-vascular strength?  The answer is maybe the coach and sometimes a parent or friend, That’s all!

A story is told of a famous violinist who was to perform at a concert hall of world renown. As he stood before the packed house that night and played his violin, he mesmerized the audience with his prowess and skill. As he lifted his bow off the string on his final note, the hall erupted with thunderous applause and he was given a standing ovation. He looked at the crowd for a moment and walked off the stage only to return to render an encore performance. To the amazement of the masses gathered there that night, his encore performance was even more beautiful and flawless than the first. 

He looked to the audience and left the stage for the second time but was beckoned back by the deafening roar of the multitudes that once again stood to their feet in adulation. He gave yet another encore number, leaving the audience fumbling for words that could describe what their eyes and ears just experienced. This sequence was repeated several more times until finally this virtuoso of virtuosos finished his piece, looked to the audience, nodded his head and simply walked off the stage while the ferocious cheers could still be heard long after he exited. 

Reporters pressed outside the violinist’s dressing room, waiting to catch a word from the man who had just given the performance of a lifetime. As he emerged from the small room, one reporter asked the question, “Sir, why did you give so many encore performances? You could have stopped after the first and everyone would have been amazed.” The violinist stopped and replied, “ 

For the very first time in my career, my master, the one who taught me to play the violin, was in the audience. When I finished my performance, everyone stood except for one person. I played again, and everyone stood to applaud except for him. I continued to play. On the conclusion of the last encore I looked into the seats and I noticed that everyone, including my master, was standing and applauding. It was only then that I was satisfied that I had done a good job.” (Copied).

Are you striving to please your Master, Jesus Christ? The writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” Let us keep our focus on Jesus Christ that we may be satisfied that we did a good job when we hear His words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…”