I recently watched a YouTube clip from an old Donnie and Marie talk show which originally aired May 23, 2000. In the show Donny told of how he had sung the National Anthem at a Dodgers-Braves game earlier that year. Knowing 40,000 fans were in the stands and the game was being broadcast to millions more, Osmond was understandably nervous. He heard the announcer say, “Ladies and gentlemen, here to sing the National Anthem is Donnie Osmond.” As he stepped onto the field the stadium erupted with boos.
Osmond immediately began asking, “what did I do, I haven’t even sung a note and they’re booing me?” Despite his confusion and fear, he walked to the microphone amidst taunts of, “You stink!” “Get off the field!” “Nobody likes you!”
He did not know what to do but decided that since he was there to sing the National Anthem, he would. As he began, fans booed even louder! He had no idea why and admitted he expected people to begin throwing things at him any minute.
It was very frustrating, but Osmond eventually finished the song. As he walked off the field one of the security guards said, “I hope you didn’t think they were booing you.” The singer asked, “What do you mean?” The guard replied, “As you made your entrance, John Rocker walked on the field.” Rocker was the Braves’ pitcher who earlier that year made racial slurs and other controversial statements and the fans hated him.
It is very unlikely any of us will ever have a stadium full of fans booing us. However, it is highly likely all of us will at times be tempted to stop before we start, to retreat before we finish what we know needs to be done. At some point someone is going to make us feel like we cannot go on, but we must continue despite our frustrations and challenges.
That is what Jesus encouraged his followers to do in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.” (Matthew 5:11, NLT)
In Osmond’s story, the singer merely thought people were booing him, but Jesus’ point goes farther. If at some point when doing the right thing proves difficult or unpopular; keep doing what is right. God honors perseverance when we refuse to quit doing what we know pleases him regardless of how much we may feel like throwing-in-the-towel and walking away.