The Verdict That Matters
by Rev Greg Obong-Oshotse 4 June 2021
Text: Proverbs 27:2
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
In the evening of Monday 26 November 1753, John Wesley, having been ill for some time, thought his time had come. He didn’t want any glowing epitaphs. So he wrote himself a very plain one: “In the evening (not knowing how it might please God to dispose of me), to prevent vile panegyric, I wrote as follows: Here lieth the body of John Wesley, a brand plucked out of the burning: who died of a consumption in the fifty-first year of his age, not leaving, after his debts are paid, ten pounds behind him: praying, God be merciful to me, an unprofitable servant!” Wesley recovered and lived another 36 years. A different epitaph which more properly extolls his great ministry is written deservedly in his honour.
In similar fashion we know of the holiness of Job, not from his own account, but God’s. ‘And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” God is the only one with perfect knowledge. And He is the only one who makes no mistake and cannot lie. He said Job was “blameless and upright”, that he “fears God and turns away from evil.” His friends didn’t think so. They were wrong and rebuked by God for their misjudgement. It is important that we have good character and that people hold good judgements of us, but the verdict that matters will come from God, not man; it should be our utmost motivation to please God, not man.
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