But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, 'No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.' But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: imagine a perilous performance: you forget your lines, miss a turn, lose your pitch or mess up a big audition. You're snakebit: 'experiencing failure' (Merriam-Webster). Your misfortune is obvious, and natives are quick to judge. What natives?
Local natives (a.k.a. hometown folks): 'I knew he was too big for his britches. He won't make it. When the pressure is on, he loses it.' (These comments are behind your back, of course.)
Christian natives (a.k.a. church leaders): 'This is a sign. God wants you give this up. Stay here, where you belong. Media is an evil place.' (These comments are in your face.)
Entertainment natives (a.k.a. agents and casting directors): 'Thank you.... Next!' (They're in a rush. Others are waiting.)
Now imagine yourself persevering. You brush off your feet, cast off your cares--and continue. You 'Press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 3:14). Soon enough, you win a major role.
Local natives are thrilled: 'I love him. He's the coolest guy I've ever seen. He's famous now!'
Christian natives are skeptical: 'Let's hope he doesn't get corrupted out there. We've seen it happen before.'
Entertainment natives are sorry they missed you: 'I auditioned him once and almost took him. I thought he might be a star.' (You never knew you were that close...)
Fans can be fickle. Christians can be cross. Leaders can be pressured by the demands of a whimsical world. Therefore, do not allow people to build you up or put you down. Your Teacher didn't: 'Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for he knew all people' (John 2:24).
Love everyone, but entrust your destiny to no one but God.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Skeptics series.