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Published on 9/16/2020 additional information available

Empty Stadiums and Heaven’s Applause



What matters to those who follow Jesus is heaven’s applause rings loudly for followers of Jesus. In fact, what matters most is that we have given all that we have for God’s pleasure.

Well, professional football has returned. Different teams played on the gridiron looking for dominance play by play. The rivalries, like Green Bay and Minnesota or Philadelphia and Washington, were very different though.

Instead of fans in the stands cheering their team and taunting their opponents, the stadiums were empty. The television shots were focused on the sidelines or the field, but there were no shots of the stands. No “John 3:16” signs in the end-zone. No celebrations of spectators at the score of the home team.

It was very, very different.

Football teams may have empty stadiums, but that’s merely a “right now” reality that has no eternal glory. What matters to those who follow Jesus isn’t how many people are cheering and not jeering our daily journey. What matters to those who follow Jesus is heaven’s applause rings loudly for followers of Jesus. In fact, what matters most is that we have given all that we have for God’s pleasure.

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9)

God is watching what we do and how we live. He sees us as we go through our days, and He knows the level of our commitment to Him and His mission for our lives. As we weigh our priorities, God is watching. As we conduct our business, God is watching. As we relate to others, God is watching. God sees us and knows the level of our faithfulness to Him.

For four grueling years, Michelangelo worked incessantly on one of his most enduring and influential works of art. For four years, he lay on his back and painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Originally, Pope Julius II had asked the famed sculptor to paint a simple depiction of the twelve apostles on the small chapel ceiling, but once Michelangelo accepted the assignment, he created a wondrous masterpiece that included more than four hundred figures and nine scenes from the book of Genesis. Michelangelo was committed to the task so completely that he spent days working in a dark corner of the chapel painting a scene which no one would ever see. When asked why he worked so long and hard on an unseen portion of the ceiling, Michelangelo responded simply, “God will see.”

The stadiums on earth may be empty and the applause of peers may be silent. But God is watching and heaven is applauding as we live each moment of this day for God’s pleasure.

Make the most of this day God has given you to honor Him, and you will find joy, encouragement, and strength at the sound of heaven’s applause!

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