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My Service Was a Waste!

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My Service Was a Waste!

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 Or that you were not appreciated? Or that everything you did to serve someone or help in a service project was totally forgotten? Or worse yet, that people found fault with everything you did when you were trying to do good? You ended up feeling like you were kicked in the teeth.

If I could ask for a show of hands of how many of you felt your service was unappreciated at some point, I would imagine most of you would be raising your hands and raising them high. Does that mean we should throw up our hands and say, "No more"? I have felt that way many times. But is that the solution—to just stop serving and getting involved?

I was once involved with a project that required staying up all night for several nights, only to go to work the next day totally exhausted. The next year someone else had been given part of my responsibilities without anyone ever talking to me about it. What had I done wrong? It made me feel so unappreciated for the hours that I had put into that project, and I became very discouraged. (Somehow it doesn't occur to you at a time like this to be thankful for the reduced workload.) I wondered why I even wasted my time when I was so easily replaced. In the depths of my struggles I made a promise to myself that I would never get involved again with anything. I never wanted to hurt like this again. The hurt was too high of a price.

Where Were the Other Nine?

Christ was faced with the same problem—lack of appreciation from those He reached out to help. He did much good, He served many people, fed thousands, blessed children, healed the lame, gave sight to the blind and healed many of their sicknesses. But how many came back to express appreciation? How many actually turned on Him instead? In Romans 1:21 it says, "Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

The story of the 10 lepers that Jesus healed helps to illustrate the point of ingratitude. "Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood far off. And they lifted up their voices and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!'" (Luke 17:11-13). In their deepest need they cried out to Him for help.

"So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?' Then He said to him, 'Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well'" (Luke 17:14-19).

Jesus healed 10 and only one came back to express thanks. The others forgot, did not know to or did not have the time to express their gratitude. It's a reminder to us to show appreciation for those who serve us.

How many of the people Jesus healed and helped were there to support Him when He faced His greatest trial, that of dying on the cross?

What Should We Do?

But what should we do when we feel our service has been wasted?

Part of the answer is that we sometimes have to examine our own reasons for serving. Naturally we want to receive recognition and appreciation, but that's not the purpose of serving that Christ taught. Christ taught a standard of service that seeks no recognition from men (Matthew 6:1-4). This Christ-centered service helps us become more like our Heavenly Father, and is focused on really helping others.

We should keep giving and hoping that our lives will touch others and make a difference in their lives, even in the face of rejection and even if our good deeds are forgotten. Although men will forget our service, it will never be forgotten and unappreciated by God!

Hebrews 6:10 says, "For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."

In a recent country hit song by the group Alabama, "Angels Among Us," you will find these words of encouragement for those who give hope: "When life dealt troubled times and had me down on my knees, there's always been someone there to come along and comfort me, a kind word from a stranger to lend a helping hand. A phone call from a friend just to say I understand. Ain't it kind of funny at the dark end of the road, someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope."

Just like those mentioned in the song who do good, we too can be instruments of God for good. We continue to offer a ray of hope in people's lives even though it may not be appreciated and may even be forgotten. We become very thankful to those who offer us a ray of hope when we are down and discouraged. We do not forget the good that has been done for us! Most of all, we express that gratitude to them and to God.

Keep on Doing—Anyway

While going through my own discouragement, I heard a message about the Paradoxical Commandments that turned my broken heart around and helped my attitude change to a more positive approach to service. The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M. Keith show the importance of doing the right thing, no matter how others react. Here are a couple of them:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

You may find more information at www.paradoxicalcommandments.com.

We may feel unappreciated or at times thrown away, attacked or kicked in the teeth, but we should do good anyway. We practice the example of Jesus Christ. Even though His good deeds were forgotten by many, He died for all of us anyway! UN