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Bravo! Bravo!

Bravo! Bravo!

     Bravo is a rather well-known exclamation used to express approval when a performer or other person has done something well. It has its origin in Italy and its original meaning is “skillful”.   It came to mean “well done”. This is likely why this word is called out during applause at the conclusion of a performance. The desire to be praised drives many in sports, entertainment, politics, and in the workplace. If we are honest, we all want to hear well done, good job, superb, or something of that sort when we’ve put forth effort to achieve or produce.
     However, not everyone who walked the earth desired to be called “good’ or sought to be praised. In Matt. 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18, we have an account of one who has become to be known as “the rich young ruler”. In the first of these accounts, Matt. 19:16-26, we have the powerful lesson taught by Christ. When this young man called Christ “good”, Jesus said: “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:”. He then provided the advice needed under every dispensation for one to be pleasing to God. It was: “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    Before this, we find in the latter part of Mark chapter 7, Jesus was brought a deaf man that also had an impediment in his speech. They desired Christ to ‘lay hands’ on him so the man would be healed.    Rather than publicly bringing attention to Himself as He honored their request, He took the man aside and performed a miracle. After Christ uttered the Word meaning “Be opened”, verse 35 tells us: “And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” In verse 36 Christ “charged them that they should tell no man”. Nevertheless, they published (told it) greatly. They didn’t say “Bravo!”, but according to verse 37 they were quite impressed. In fact, we are told they were “beyond measure astonished”. Their assessment was correct on both points. They reported: “he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak” and said: “He hath done all things well”.  Everything Christ did was to the glory of God and was “well done”!
       There have always been those who sought “acclaim” and praise of man for the things they would do on earth.   One of the earliest examples of this is the Gen. 11:4 account of the ‘tower builders’ of the plain of Shinar. Their desire for acclaim is clearly stated in the declaration of their plans. “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” They obviously wanted men to say to them – “Bravo!” or “Well done!” We all know how that worked out for them. Rather than being praised, we read in Gen. 11:9 - Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. 
     Another Biblical example of one who reveled in the praise and adoration of man is king Herod in Acts 12:20-23. From the text it is apparent that Herod set up a situation, using his authority as king, wherein he would make a speech and it was evident he expected the applause and approval of the crowd. A quick reading of this account gives support to the saying: “Be careful what you ask for because you might get it.” The origin of this saying is Aesop's Fables, the world's best-known collection of morality tales.  He is credited with writing - Have you ever made a wish and got what you wanted, only for the reality to fall way short of the expectation?   What did Herod ‘wish’? The approval of the people. He got that and more - Acts 12:22-23 - And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. (This was still the age of miracles).
     The Spirit provided the prophet Words in Isa. 2:12 which foretell of the establishment of the church, and the requirement of all to humble themselves before God and be obedient, prophesied: For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: This is reiterated in 1Pet. 1:24as the Spirit has the apostle write of the “new birth” brought about through obedience to the Word of God. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: The praise of men, the ‘Bravos’, the ‘attaboys’, the ‘pats on the back’, all shall pass away just as will those who offer them.  
     Rather, should we not seek God’s praise and approval? We should all seek to hear the Words of Matt. 25:20 & 23 which were spoken by the “lord of those servants” to the five and two talent men. Upon seeing the evidence of their fidelity, they received the sweet Words: “Well done . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. Christ was telling the Jews of His day they would shortly have the opportunity to become part of the church for which Jesus would die.
     In Phil. 1:9-11the Spirit also had Paul write to the Philippians and say: And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 
     Don’t seek accolades of men. Seek the approval of God. Start by obeying the gospel, then faithfully serve Him according with the New Testament the rest of your life. Do this, and when the Lord returns to receive His own, you’ll also hear the Words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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