Ignoring the scoffers

“A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.” (Prov. 14.6)

I just read this article from a 2001 issue of Business Week. In it, business experts give their opinion about how Apple’s attempt to open retail stores is doomed to failure. One is quoted as saying, “I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.” Um, not so much.

The article also derides Apple’s secretive nature with product releases as a bad business practice: “They should let the news leak out, to convince the world how exciting their stuff is. That’s how everyone else does it.”

I find two things interesting here. First the expert naysayers were convinced Apple would fail and fail miserably, yet by all accounts their stores are a huge success (you can hardly squeeze into the one in Raleigh for all the people in there). Is there something in your life or ministry that you feel called to do, feel passionate about, and yet are hesitating because of the opinion of some “expert?” Go for it. They’re probably as wrong about you as they were about Apple.

Second, the statement, “That’s how everyone else does it,” really jumped out at me. Conformity is rarely the path to success and even more infrequently is it the path to being a faithful disciple of Jesus and living out the Gospel. If everyone else is doing one thing, it’s probably time to do something else. If you have a strong inclination to do something (especially something for the Lord) and looking around you see how different this will be from what “everyone else” (even/especially when the everyone else are church people/Christians) is doing – then press in because the Spirit is using you to blaze a trail.

Apple has been very successful by ignoring the naysaying experts (who need to be distinguished from people who have knowledge and use that to help you realize your dreams instead of squashing them, so please don’t see this as a slam on all experts, see Pr. 14.6 above) and following their own vision and plans instead of mindlessly doing what everyone else does.

Those same strategies just might work for you too. Listen to the Spirit, follow His leading, and let the courage the Lord will give you drown out the naysayers, doubters, and crowd followers.