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After a great day of teaching…A Lesson for Every Pastor and Leader

After a great day of teaching, Jesus faced the critics.

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:53-58 ESV)

It’s interesting to me when this story occurred in the life of Jesus. If you read just prior to this passage, the disciples had finally understood something Jesus taught them. It seems that didn’t happen much in their journey with Jesus. On this occasion, Jesus had just taught them a huge principle. They got it. It was a great day. The best of days. The men He was building into, who would launch the church we know today, understood what was being taught.

That’s a great day for any teacher.

Then suddenly the critics came out of the closet.

(They weren’t really “in the closet”. They never are. They are always watching. Critics are usually the ones waiting in the wings to say, “That won’t work” or “I told you it wouldn’t”. They just appear to sit on the sidelines when things are working, because that fuels nothing they have to say.)

It never seems to fail. I’ve seen it in ministry and marketplace leadership. The best days of life are often followed by some of the darkest days. Monday always follows the weekend. Pastor, deliver your best message and you’ll shortly afterwards find some of your harshest critics. “You should have said it this way.” Deliver the best quarterly sales report and there will be someone who says the business can’t compete in today’s market. Hit an out-of-the-park home run and you’ll find some people ready to stop the ballgame.

Don’t be surprised on those days. Don’t be dismayed. Don’t get distracted from what you are called to do.

Those days can even have value, if you allow them to:

  • They keep us humble.
  • They keep us learning.
  • They keep us on our knees.
  • They keep the glory shining in the rightful place.
  • They keep us appreciative of the good days.

Are you facing the critics – even during the best of days?

Of course you are – you’re trying to be like Jesus, right?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • bryankr

    You pegged that one right! Every time I have a really good lesson, or possibly a great discussion about a lesson, 2 things are guaranteed to happen: I get a proud feeling about the lesson and how well it went; I always get taught a great lesson about humility (i.e. His lesson, NOT mine!) ! I am learning that when these times come, don't let them slip by!

  • Jeremy Couture says:

    You are definitely right. No matter how good you and I might be, we will never be better than Jesus. If he got criticized, we will too.

  • kmac4him

    So TRUE! Yes And AMEN! Humbled, Learning And Growing, Bowed, Pointing To Jesus And Very Thankful To Be the “little echo” of the great I AM (A.W. Tozer) By the way, I call it the “devil’s backlash” and it usually is when God has managed to use me in a miraculous way to advance His Kingdom. For some reason when God uses me and victoriously pours out HIS life through me to someone else, my soul feels really depleted. I don’t understand why that happens, but it does every single time and I find that replenishing my soul in the “humility of being His and the awe of God” after great God victories, through a “quiet” time of worship and the word really helps, because it puts up around my soul, a very sturdy shield for when that backlash hits, and you can be sure that the enemy backlash will come, because the nature of the enemy does not change and it is pretty predictable that the enemy likes to strike you at your weakest, hit you when you are down, the enemy is pretty much consistently crafty and mean in that way, which helps makes our defense pretty clear: Shields UP!!!!

  • True! I've seen it in my short ministry. It's easy to forget, going into the day after, that extra resistance might be just around the corner. It's easy to get caught up in the victory and forget to be on guard.

    I wonder if the day after victory is hard because we ease up. Before the victory, we've been under pressure, striving to get it all done and reach the goal, then afterwards we get caught up in the victory. Just a thought.

    Thank you for the always timely and helpful posts.