When Serving Doesn’t Bring a Reward

 Frustration mounts.  The lack of appreciation is like a cloud over me, darkening any vestige of giving left in me.  I’m tired.  Worn out emotionally and physically.


The complaints start in the mind and quickly flow out of the mouth.  It comes across snappy and unkind.  The family’s response is to scatter.  Sometimes there’s a challenge thrown and then it turns into a battle of words.  Not a pretty picture.


Giving.  Helping.  Organizing.  Doing.  These are things that deep down inside I enjoy doing.  It’s part of what makes me a good wife, homemaker and mom.  And it’s definitely why I have chosen the profession of secretary.  Yet my response to the family is much different than at work.  I can say the same about ministry or other types of volunteer efforts.


Why do I complain about serving my family but not others?  The truth hits me hard.  I feel rewarded when I serve other people.  At work I’m rewarded with a paycheck.  Sometimes I’ll even receive verbal praise for a job well done or gifts for Administrative Professionals Day (nothing like a day focused on you).


In ministry or volunteering, I’ve been thanked in person or with a card.  The people make it known they appreciate me.


But at home…no thanks.  No acknowledgment of a job well done.  Perhaps even at times the family takes advantage of me.  This reality got me thinking.  Is my serving done only in hopes of receiving some type of reward?  If I’m going to be honest, yes, it is.


I realized there were two important Biblical concepts missing from this area of my life.


1)      Do everything without complaining and arguing…(Philippians 2:14)


2)      Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…(Colossians 3:23)


Do EVERYTHING—cooking, cleaning, picking up from school, laundry, making appointments, etc.–WITHOUT complaining (whining, protesting, grumbling, murmuring, lamenting) and arguing (disagreeing, quarreling, contending, bickering).  Everything encompasses the stuff I don’t like doing.  The stuff I don’t feel appreciated for doing.  The stuff expected of me and the stuff that requires I go the extra mile.

WHATEVER you do—from the time you get up until you go to sleep, Sunday through Saturday, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—work at it with all your HEART (motives, intentions, desires) as working for the LORD (as an offering being poured out upon Him, with the Lord first and foremost in our thoughts), not for HUMAN MASTERS (whether it’s your spouse, children, or boss).


Here’s the crux of the matter.  The Biblical concept of serving has NOTHING (nada) to do with rewards.  It’s meant to be selfless, with no thought to oneself and in what one can gain from it.  Once the expectations are dropped, it becomes much easier to enjoy serving.  Once humility comes into the mix, the focus is no longer on me but on helping others.  And that my friend, is the real reward.


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