Longing for a Little Appreciation
I wanted my husband’s birthday pie to be picture perfect. Made just the way he likes it—homemade flaky crust, freshly squeezed lemon juice, fluffy meringue. Easing the pie from the hot oven, I set it on the counter to cool. At that point I realized that I’d invested almost two hours into making this special dessert. Hmm, I mused, I’d better get something more than his usual “It’s alright” or “Pretty good.”
The next week I turned in the manuscript for my fourth one-year devotional. No one will ever know how much time went into this project, I thought. Between crafting the proposal, researching the material, coming up with 365 different ideas, studying Scriptures—not to mention the writing—it must have added up to a couple thousand hours at least.
I wish I didn’t have such a deep need for other people’s approval and appreciation for what I do. Although I can’t match the seemingly unnatural work ethic of the “ideal” woman described in Proverbs 31, I would love to get the same reaction she does. Her children stand up and bless her for her hard work. Her husband praises her above all other women. It’s clear from the passage that a love for her family and a desire to honor God are what motivate this woman to be the best she can be. But surely she must feel warmed and honored by her family’s compliments and glad that her efforts are appreciated.
In reality, few women receive such recognition. Instead of standing up and calling us blessed, our children may just sit down and ask what’s for dinner. Our husbands are usually oblivious to all that we do behind the scenes. Our employers, coworkers, and fellow church members probably have no idea how much extra effort we put in on that last project. But it’s comforting to know that Someone notices every little thing we do, and He promises to reward us someday.
God sees every act of service on our part, whether small or great; He also sees our motivation. He knows whether our desire is to draw attention to ourselves and win admiration from other people, or to serve others and bring Him glory. We can test our motives by asking, “Would I be doing this if no one except God knew about it?” If the answer is “yes”, then we can be assured of a reward from our heavenly Father.
Sure, it would be nice if other people made a point to thank us for our efforts and hard work, but we can’t count on that to always happen. Whenever we’re longing for a little appreciation, it helps to remember Who it is that we really serve. And to look forward to the day when we hopefully will hear Him say the words that make everything we do worth it all: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21 NIV)
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs (such as CBN.com and FindingGodDaily.com), contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.