by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
John 12:42-43 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
Since 1927, Time Magazine has announced its "Man of the year award", and this year’s winner is President Barack Obama for the 2nd time. The magazine's tradition of naming a "Man of the year" has occasionally provoked significant controversy. In 1938, just before World War 2, Time named Adolf Hitler, "Man of the Year" just about one year before he plunged the world into a war which killed more than 60 million human beings, including 6 million Jews who were systematically exterminated by his regime. Then, in 1939 and again 1942, Joseph Stalin was named 'Man of the Year', under whose rule nearly 700,000 people were executed in 1937 and 1938, and during whose reign of terror millions more lost their lives. In 1979, Time named Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian Islamic revivalist as its "Man of the year", although later that year the American Embassy was overrun and 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. The Islamic revolution which began in 1979 continues to bring chaos to the world today as Iran presses relentlessly toward acquiring nuclear weapons while at the same time calling for the elimination of the State of Israel.
Hitler, Stalin, and the Ayatollah Khomeini were responsible for the loss of countless lives during their lifetimes, yet they were given "front page" honor and global significance by a major news outlet. Time's editors are clearly not necessarily measuring their "Man of the year" by integrity or righteousness, but by their human significance and global influence. And while it seems a bit incongruous to give such "honor" to people like Hitler and Stalin, it strikes me as a powerful example of how human praise and honor are sought and received in this fallen world.
But actually, don't we all seem to love the praise of men in our natural fallen state? And isn't it something we ought to be continually crucifying when we realize how utterly vain it is?
But then, there's another kind of praise with eternal value, a praise which we are strongly encouraged to seek…the praise of God.
Wouldn't it be interesting to know who God's Man of the Year is; or His Woman of the year? I can almost certainly assure you of one thing: they won't be appearing on the cover of Time. But his or her name will be prominent in another book; the Lamb's Book of Life. May you be that Man! May you be that Woman!
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