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The man in the arena

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One of my leaders called up yesterday asking for advice. One of his staff members had visited one of our bases where every week, hundreds of young people are coming to serve. He observed our base director and noticed a flaw. “How can this man lead when he has this spiritual flaw?” asked the …
By Seth Barnes

One of my leaders called up yesterday asking for
advice. One of his staff members had
visited one of our bases where every week, hundreds of young people are coming
to serve. He observed our base director
and noticed a flaw. “How can this man lead
when he has this spiritual flaw?” asked the staff member.

So, my leader called me up and said, “How do I answer my
staff member?”

teddy rooseveltIn answering him, I gave him one of my favorite quotes from
Teddy Roosevelt, something he said in 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong
man stumbled 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 knows the great enthusiasms,
the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows
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 know neither victory nor defeat.”

God spare us from the unengaged critic. Truth be told, there’s one in each of
us. I have to fight that temptation all
the time – the temptation to take a pot shot without ever jumping into the
arena. God convicted me a while ago and
I had to go apologize for my critical spirit toward someone who had failed, but
at least had given it his best shot.

If you’re on the sidelines today and have leveled a
criticism at someone, a good place to start is with an apology. A follow-up to that is to ask the Lord how he’d
have you put a foot in the arena.

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