The Man in the Arena

"Let's Roll!", shouted Todd Beamer as he and several other passengers rushed the cockpit on United Flight 93, taking the airplane down into a field near Shanksville, PA—28 minutes from Washington, DC. A regular guy, suddenly and forever he is identified as a genuine 9/11 hero. Several weeks after the tragic events of that day, his wife, Lisa, finally found the emotional strength to clean out his desk at home. There she found a copy of Todd's favorite quotation—words that must have motivated him that September morning in the sky.

It happens to be one of my favorites, too.

It was written by Theodore Roosevelt--

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, and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumphs 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 or defeat."

Live long enough, and try to accomplish anything of significance, and you will eventually face the critic. And we can say that he and his opinions don't count—but they really do, just as much as "sticks and stones break our bones.” Criticism stings and, if not handled appropriately, can even cripple a person.

This Sunday, June 13, my sermon will be on how to deal with legitimate and illegitimate fault-finding at the hands of others. The text will be Psalm 141. Take the time to read these ten verses each day as a way to prepare your heart and mind. I would love to hear your thoughts and personal stories around this subject—but get them to me before I preach on Sunday. I might want to include them in my presentation.




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