“We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts” (I Thess. 2:4)
Serving the Lord can sometimes be discouraging work. It may become even more discouraging when we’ve poured ourselves into our calling – teaching, writing, or any other calling – and no one seems to notice our efforts. Or maybe we’ve worked and worked . . . and someone else gets the credit for what we’ve accomplished.
As Christians, we know that we serve to glorify the Lord. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world . . . let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). The goal of our work is praise for the Father, not for ourselves.
Still, it’s natural to want someone to notice and acknowledge our efforts. We all need encouragement. Certainly, the Bible exhorts us to encourage one another.
But the Lord knows our hearts. He knows our motivations. I’ve found that God will frequently allow periods of anonymity or discouragement in my life to reveal my motives. If I am ready to give up because of a lack of recognition or appreciation, that tells me my motives have been all wrong.
It’s no accident that among the hundreds of named women in Scripture, there are also more than one hundred references to unnamed individual women or groups of women. Immortalized in Scripture for all time, yet virtually unknown apart from being identified by their circumstances. It doesn’t seem quite fair.
Yet nothing escapes God’s notice. He knows who they are—each and every one of them. And he knows who we are, what we are doing, and why we do it. Jesus reminded his followers that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). In Genesis 16:13, Hagar was amazed that God knew all about her, and she called Him El Roi, the God Who Sees.
So the next time you’re discouraged because of a lack of recognition or appreciation, there’s only one thing to do. Run straight into the arms of El Roi. Take comfort in knowing that the Lord sees all that you do and will reward you.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10).
Paul also reminded us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
When we’re serving the Lord the recognition and pay may not be much, but the retirement plan is out of this world!
What do you do when others fail to acknowledge your efforts?