January 16, 2019·Danielle McEntee
Here’s a truth bomb about to explode on you. Recently, I had a conversation with my husband that consisted of me complaining about how difficult and discouraging youth ministry can be sometimes. I was lamenting about how thankless it can often feel when you’re pouring 200% into something or someone, only to be met with negativity about what you’re not doing right or, in the case of some teenagers, met with complete disinterest or ungratefulness.
Truthfully, I experience these same frustrating, discouraging, powerful emotions as a mother to three children too! (Surprise, surprise!) After all, I slaved all day to clean the house and cook dinner, and my kids will complain about the meal and then mess up the room I just spotlessly mopped.
I think many of us can relate in our jobs, our marriages, our relationships, the list goes on. Whatever we work heartily at, we want to hear affirmation, that we’re doing well! We want validation, confirmation, encouragement, a pat on the back, a thumbs up, a “thank you” … we crave something (anything!) to assure us that we’re making a difference! But the praise of men is not what is supposed to fuel us.
I was reminded recently, in the midst of a difficult year, of Colossians 3:23 (NIV). It says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters!” Ben and I have this verse prominently displayed, to daily remind us that we’re serving the Lord, not seeking approval and praise from the lips of men. Yes, praise is wonderful to hear, and I do often hear a lot of it (which makes me feel AMAZING!), but if I make the approval of men my bread and butter, I will surely starve. If any of us are being obedient to what God has called us to do, His approval has to be enough.
In our Pause Bible Reading Plan this week, I was reading Luke 17:7-10. Jesus says, “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
At the end of the day, serving Jesus is not like Instagram, where you can post a lovely picture or funny meme and immediately be flooded with “likes” and approval. Serving Jesus is what we are called to do, even when it seems thankless. Even when it seems no one is looking. Even when it seems that no one notices or cares. What it all boils down to is this: we are called, as Christ followers, to serve Him, for His glory. Period. And after all is said and done, we are still unworthy servants who have only done our duty. This is hard to swallow. It’s a sacrifice. BUT … when you consider His sacrifice, Jesus is certainly worth it.
Pastor Dani McEntee