This relates to my last post that ended with the encouragement for our service to be done for God:
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
This is the solution when we feel like people let us down. We weren’t doing it for them. We were doing it for God.
A husband says, “I work hard. I provide for my wife. I love her, but it seems like she doesn’t appreciate it.” Remember you’re doing it for the Lord.
A wife starts to feel like, “I support my husband. I love him. I submit to him. I honor him. But he doesn’t put forth as much effort with me.” Remember you’re doing it for the Lord.
If you’re a husband, you should love and cherish your wife not because she’s perfect or deserves it, but because you love God and that’s what He wants. If you’re a wife, you submit to and honor your husband, not because he’ll always make the right decisions, but because you love God and that’s what pleases Him.
At work you’re diligent and you do your best, but you’re always passed over for promotions. Maybe you see others slough off or act dishonestly, maybe it’s even from those in positions over you. Remember, you’re doing your best work for the Lord. You want to be a good witness. You hope others will see Christ through you.
You have a friend and you’ve spent hours listening to the person’s problems, always making yourself available without ever being asked how you’re doing, how you’re feeling, if you need prayer. You give and give and you’re finally going through something, but your friend doesn’t have time for you. Remember you were doing it for the Lord.
I saved this example for last because it can be the most painful; it’s almost impossible not to take it personally, blame yourself, but I’ve seen it happen to wonderful parents…
You’ve invested so much in your children. Not just hours like in a friendship, but years of putting your child ahead of yourself, training, educating, instructing, mentoring, praying every night for your child to love and fear God. Then the child gets older and rebels. My encouragement: remember you were doing it for the Lord, and He is El Roi, The God Who Sees, and your service has pleased Him. Raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, not because they’ll always make the best decisions, but because you love God.
If your service is for the Lord, you’re going to save yourself from two dangerous threats:
- Discouragement: if your service is for man instead of God, it will hurt when you don’t receive the recognition and gratitude you think you deserve. When you feel like your love and effort isn’t reciprocated, you’ll be frustrated or bitter or both.
- Pride: if your service is for man instead of God, you become susceptible to pride because it will matter that people felt like you did a great job. The compliments will become very meaningful. You’ll start to believe the praise.
If your service is for the Lord though, you’ll be spared from these threats and you’ll have the satisfaction knowing you’re pleasing the Lord and doing what He wants.
Let me encourage you with these two biblical examples…
In 2 Corinthians 11:22-29 Paul listed the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering he experienced as a servant of the Gospel and it sounds like more than one man could handle. He came to the end of his life and in one of the saddest verses in the New Testament he said, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim 4:11). That’s it. Only Luke. Hundreds, if not thousands of people Paul had served and helped in his service for the Gospel and he goes on to say, “No one stood with me, but all forsook me.” (2 Tim 4:16). And then listen to this: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim 4:17). When Paul felt like he didn’t have anyone else, he knew he had the Lord, and the Lord helped him through his most difficult times when everyone else had let him down.
Think about Jesus’ example: He spent years helping people to the greatest extent His physical body allowed. When He found Himself on trial, many of the same people He helped yelled, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). When Jesus was arrested, with the exception of John, all the disciples fled and denied knowing Him. When Jesus looked down from the cross, John was the only one He saw along with His mother. We’re all going to experience people letting us down, but we have in Jesus a Savior who in the words of Hebrews 2:17 “had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.” When we feel let down by others, we can go to Him and know He hears us and has experienced the same.