BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day
© John Denney 30 May 2003
Exactly fifty years ago today, the troopship Empire Halladale docked at Southampton.† My uncle was waiting at the quayside to pick me and my family up, as we returned after three years with the army in Malaya.† We crowded into his car and he drove us to his home in Essex.† We passed through central London.† There were grandstands along our route, and thousands of Londoners were sitting in them, who gave us a tremendous cheer as we passed.† I was very impressed, and waved at them.† The more I waved, the bigger the cheer.† I didnít know we were that important!
What I didnít realise, of course, was that the crowds were not out to welcome us home, but to watch the rehearsals for the big event in three daysí time Ė the coronation of the young Queen Elizabeth.
It was the only time in my life that I can honestly claim to have been treated like royalty.† It felt good.
It always feels good to have your ego stroked; when people are glad to see you; when people praise you; when you are truly welcome.† I guess Tony Blair has had something of that feeling on his trip to Iraq this week.† And who can blame the luvvies for taking curtain calls when they have given a magnificent performance?† I went to the opera in Vienna last year, and the lead singers took nine curtain calls, which was overdoing it a bit.
Jesus told a story about people who used their talents in Godís service.† Well done, you good and faithful servant [Matt 25:21] was the phrase he used to praise those who used their talents profitably.† And it wasnít just words: he gave them even more responsibility and resources.† If God can trust you with little things, He will trust you with bigger things.
Mind you, praise can sometimes be misplaced.† Thereís a gravestone in Woolwich that reads: Sacred to the memory of Major James Brush, Royal Artillery, who was killed by the accidental discharge of a pistol by his orderly, 14th April 1831.† Well done, good and faithful servant.
But seriously, an ounce of praise is worth a ton of criticism.† Is there someone you know who deserves a bit of praise?† Why not give it, then?† And how about seeing if you can give them an increased opportunity to do something even better?† After all, thatís how God works.