Men’s Applause

Posted on October 15, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, (Colossians 3:23)


I have been in ministry for more than 60 years. I have a problem differentiating between wanting my ministry to be honoring to the Lord and at the same time being appreciated by those to whom I am ministering. I want people to think and say that I was “good.” I certainly do not want them to think or say that I was terrible or even forgettable. I want to make an impact.

Sometimes you get a real shot in the gut by the truth. Mary Esther and I participated in a series of meetings probably 40 years ago. I was working full-time, leaving work about 30 minutes early, stopping by to pick up Mary Esther, and then driving about 1 hour and 15 minutes, plus eating supper in the car in order to get to the church on time. About the third night, I said something in introducing my sax solo about not having time to practice and warm-up. The speaker got up (during his message) and made very pointed remarks about offering less than our best (being unprepared) when we minister (preach, sing, etc.). It was not an off-the-cuff remark. He belabored the point and I was really embarrassed. I got it and I’m sure others picked it up, too. I never forgot it!

Any experienced preacher/teacher/musician can minister at short notice when necessary, but good preparation should be the norm.

The older I get, the more time I spend in preparation, whether I’m planning a service, ministering musically or by spoken word. Am I doing my best?

What can really shock me into reality are the verses that say our works will be tried as by fire: the wood, hay and stubble will be burned away while the gold, silver and precious stones will remain (I Cor. 3:10-15). Or how about casting our trophies at His feet as in, “…’til my trophies at last I lay down (The Old Rugged Cross)? What trophies? Do I have any?

How are you gaining your trophies? You may not be a preacher, teacher, or musician. We each have our own type of ministry. But what are your works or trophies that will be tried as by fire? Will they endure?

So how is all of this resolved? I believe it has to do with motive. Am I doing whatever it is to show off or to call attention to myself? I want to do my best and I want men’s approval. But is that the ulterior motive? I think perhaps the highest compliment might be something like this, “I remember the message you preached, or the illustration you gave, or the song you sang because it really spoke to me in a way I will always remember. It is making a difference in my life.” Just like the preacher who hung me out to dry many years ago. I am so grateful for that lesson. I’ll never forget it because it made a difference in my life.


This Freedom Fighter  was originally published in Real Victory for Real Life Volume 3

Written By Neil Fichthorn: Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.

Think About This: “God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.” ― Elisabeth Elliott

The Daily Bible Reading: Luke 21 | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Galatians 5:13-14

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