One of the best things I’ve learned over the years is that popularity isn’t important. In high school, you were seen as a “cool” kid, an “average” kid, or a “dud.” The cool kids were the smartest and the best in sports. Duds weren’t expected to amount to much of anything. Average kids fit somewhere in the middle. For the record, I was just average.

Many years later, we got together for a class reunion. Guess what happened to the cool kids? Nothing. Most didn’t live up to the high expectations everyone had for them. On the other hand, one of the former “duds” is now CEO at the largest shoe company in Texas. I didn’t do too bad for an “average” kid, either. God led my wife and me to start a church and school, where we just celebrated 40 years of ministry. This doesn’t prove that we are great, but it proves that what everybody thought about us back then didn’t matter.

Popularity has no bearing on your potential for Christ. It really comes down to vision. If you have a vision for serving Christ and winning people to Him, then this vision will influence everything you do. You will have the freedom to stand up and stand out for Christ, totally unaffected by your popularity in the eyes of the world.

Oh, and by the way, the world really is watching you. They want to see if you hold to your convictions so strongly that you’re willing to turn away from the crowd and stand up for Jesus. Your vision is constantly on display at work, at the fitness center, at home, the grocery store — wherever you go. So make up your mind: are you going to be a cool crowd-pleaser or an above-average person who’s willing to stand — alone, if necessary — for the Savior?

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. . . . Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder