Points to Ponder: A Note to the Unappreciated

Points to Ponder
A Note to the Unappreciated

Does it bother you that no one seems to appreciate the good things that you do? The generous giver, the one who sacrifices their own time and comfort to provide for others, is often taken for granted. Are you one who does so much behind the scenes that if it weren't for you doing all those good deeds, much would be left undone? Do you find yourself frustrated by a sense of being unappreciated? Are you ever tempted to just "let somebody else do it"? You know it's likely that no one else will; then they'll see how much you do. In your heart, do you expect to be appreciated? Are you insulted when no "thank you" comes?
It's one of the first phrases we are taught as children. Whether you actually feel it or not, you say "Thank you" to someone who has done a good thing for you. Then as time goes on and you become the doer of good, you expect a thank you. In the course of polite society, that's usually how things ought to go.
But what happens when you find yourself expecting - even pursuing - that acknowledgment of appreciation? It's not merely a considerate word for a kindness done; it has become a personal affirmation you need. Some people crave attention, long for accolades. You see it in little kids: "Look at me, Mom!" Do you still need that?
For some, there is a festering bitterness. Are you the one who always makes the sacrifice? Are you the one who will pay for it, get it done, make sure it's right, etc.? If you don't do it, it won't get done. Yet no one seems to care how much you care.
That just should not be. It's not right nor fair. Correct? But feeling rotten about it, or getting steamed over the celebration of others' good deeds while you remain ignored, will not change anyone - except you. Maybe you should check your motivation for why you do what you do. Jesus speaks of the proper motivation for doing good.
"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward" (Matthew 6:1-2).
Think back to, say, 1965 (or '75, '95, 2005), and try to recall who received rewards, commendations, big write-ups in the newspaper for their good deeds. Do you remember them? Probably not. So if you forgot them, don't you think most everyone else has as well? They had their reward. And that was great for its day; to be honored "before men" is good. However, it's not the best.
"But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (vss/ 3-4).
Sometimes that "openly rewarded" part happens in wonderful ways that make us feel good; eventually some are honored "appropriately" for the good they have done. Most of us have plaques, certificates, and even medals and trophies. It's nice, but it's not the point. It's not even the true reward for what good you may do. Knowing you have served the Lord, that you have pleased Him. That is the ultimate reward.
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men" (Titus 3:8).

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.