For a brilliant symphony musician, audience applause is a desired outcome, but it is not the central aim. The focus is on following the conductor’s lead. What would happen to a violinist or a cellist who gazed at the crowd while missing the conductor’s cue? Were that to become a common occurrence their career would undoubtedly be short-lived.
Musicians hope for applause but they follow the maestro regardless of how the audience responds. If the house is silent they keep playing as they’re led, and if ovations become deafening they do the same.
For followers of Jesus our mindset should match that of the orchestral musicians. We want to win and draw and move as many people as possible, but our ultimate goal is to please the one who called us.
The love, favor, and acclaim of men and women can be wonderfully fun and affirming, but it can never replace God’s “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Whose applause are we working for? Whose “well done” do we crave? Is our gaze fixed upward toward an audience of one or are we looking to every passing face to find our approval and worth?
It isn’t easy to secure this kind of focused devotion, but it is worth the effort. When heaven affirms you its effects will touch and heal the deepest recesses of your soul.