Ian Warner jr writes in his book Endure: An Athlete’s Guide to Faith, Hope & Success The world will never praise you for the work you’ve done but God knows your heart. (paraphrased from memory). What makes these words so powerful is to know where those words came from. Ian and his brother grew up playing sports and inspired by track and field the brothers began training as sprinters. After winning major junior events, the two made a name for themselves as the Warner Bros. Before long, the dream of the Olympics became a reality as they qualified for the 4 x 100 metre relay, representing Canada. Ian describes a meeting days prior to the event, in England, wherein decisions were made that resulted in another runner being chosen instead of Ian. For those familiar with the London Summer Olympics of 2012, you may remember the heartbreak as the Canadian team was disqualified when a runner stepped on the line. For Ian, a decade of training was left in the chair watching these events unfold, knowing that it might have been different if he had run; but he would never know. It is from this journey of training and hurting and pushing through challenges and the limits of his body that, at the last minute, came to an end without even running that Ian says “the world will never praise you for your hard work, but God knows your heart”.
When undertaking a creative project, there is always a risk when it comes time to share it. As a photographer and designer, I have had the pleasure of working with international talent, athletes and actors and musicians, and witnessed incredible performances and wondered how they handle criticism in an age of toxic online communities and public discussion. This toxicity has driven many celebrities to abandon Instagram, Facebook and other platforms in response to spontaneous floods of character attacks by unhappy people, showing little restraint or empathy for the feelings they inspire. While my own experience is small when compared to some, the resolution of my own challenges has led me to publish more, not less and this post is to share with you why. God Knows Your Heart.
In the kingdom of God, there is a responsibility upon the follower of God to do what they believe God wants them to do; to do what is right. My life verse is Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We have a mandate from our God to do what is good. So what happens when the world will never praise you?
1 John 2:17 says “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” Romans 14:4b tells us “It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” and continues in verse 8:“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”
Clearly God is aware that there is a tension within us between satisfying the world and satisfying him. So let’s take a brief look at that tension. Nike makes shoes, a lot of shoes. They make motion control shoes, trainers, runners, walking shoes, sprinting shoes and golf shoes. Let’s imagine for a moment that Nike sprinting shoes were put out to the world, what percentage of the world needs sprinting shoes? I think it reasonable to say few, very few. This means that the product is intended for a small population of the world. At very least, this means that if unwittingly experiencing the tight fit, and little cushioning found in a sprinter’s shoe, the vast majority of people would complain. This represents the majority of circumstances with which people find themselves when sharing an idea. The idea could be a great idea for the right people or purpose, but the vast majority of the world do not fit with it. This means that far more people in life will tell you you’re worthless or that an idea is bad than will tell you it’s good. So how can you tell if you have a good idea, or should do something? God gives us an audience of one.
We are the Lord’s. The Bible tells us the Earth is the Lord’s and everything therein. If you believe that you are being obedient to God’s call, have the resources to do it and that you can do it well, then what is stopping you? Remember, you have an audience of one – God Himself – and if He is pleased, what does it matter if the rest of the world shouts you down? God chose you, and He’s all the audience you need and God knows your heart.