What Matters Most
Admittedly ministry can be a thankless endeavor. The work you put forth to till the soil of your tiny corner of Zion can often feel wasted and unappreciated. Many times the congregation may not be responsive to programs you've toiled to put in place, pastoral leadership may not bother to acknowledge your sacrifice, and various other individuals may be critical of your work. When I get to your row, just say AMEN. Yesterday just when I was feeling overworked and overwhelmed, The Lord reminded me of what matters most. In the midst of running like a crazy person, one of our members overheard me talking and recognized my voice. She told me that she'd just joined the church in January and that she has been calling into our morning prayer line. She went on to tell me how much she had appreciated my prayers and how I had been such a blessing to her life. Wow! I was immediately humbled and appreciative of her comments; not because I needed the accolades, but because I needed to know that what I am doing matters. People often tell me "you did a good job" and while they mean well, that doesn't mean too much to me. I have been in ministry and taught classes in communication for over ten years. I'd better be able to "do a good job" praying and speaking in front of people. However when someone says that God used me to bless their life, I am always astounded and excited. It will never cease to amaze me that God can use me in that way, and that means way more than public recognition.
This is not to minimize the importance of feeling that your gifts are appreciated and your work is acknowledged. Too often leaders and people alike hide behind the understanding that we are working for God's glory as a reason to abuse willing workers in the body of Christ. Nobody likes feeling used and taken advantage of, which is how people often feel simply because we don't know how to say "thank you for your service" and let people know we appreciate them. However even if that never comes, knowing that God is using you to be a blessing in the lives of those he loves is at the end of the day what matters most.