Make certain you do not perform your religious duties in public so that people will see what you do. If you do these things publicly, you will not have any reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it. Then it will be a private matter. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you. [Matthew 6:1-2 (GNT)]
A pastor friend recently shared that one of his parishioners stopped coming to church because the pastor had never properly thanked him for the money the man had donated to the church. The pastor assured him that, had the money been given to him, the pastor would surely have thanked the man. The money, however, had been given to God and, while the church truly appreciated it (and provided a contribution statement), the issue of thanks was between the donor and God. Another friend, in charge of an outreach ministry, shared that one worker quit because she felt she’d not been sufficiently recognized by others for her service. To avoid such complaints, perhaps we need official “thankers” in our churches. Of course, if the church had members whose job was to thank everyone for their service, then who would the church get to thank them? I can see the makings of a Dr. Seuss book in which the last little Thankaroo, whose job is to thank you and you, after asking who’d thank him,too, gets in a snit and declares he’s through. Just who will thank the last Thankaroo?
It’s only human to want to feel appreciated and a “thank you” is always welcome. But, if we’re simply looking for approval and honor from man, we’re bound to become disappointed and disillusioned. It’s not man but God for whom we work. We’re supposed to be His servants and a servant really doesn’t expect thanks for simply doing his job. Moreover, a good servant humbly doesn’t call attention to himself. He’s unobtrusive and shouldn’t expect to be singled out for praise. Instead of working for thanks, he is thankful he works; he doesn’t serve to get but rather to give. As God’s servants, we are to serve Him joyfully; our service is the way we thank God for the blessings of this world. When we serve with our money, time or talent, we’re simply giving back what is His anyway.
Faith alone saves us – if we are followers of Christ, we have our entry ticket into heaven and everlasting life. The Parable of the Three Servants, however, implies there will be rewards in heaven that are determined by how well we used the gifts God gave us here on earth. I don’t know what the rewards will be; they well may be different for each person. Without a doubt, however, joy is involved. Hearing the Lord say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!” will be ever so much better than a “thank you” note on church stationery; it will be all the thanks any of us need.
The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and brokenhearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is to love God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men. [Oswald Chambers]
“Well done, you good and faithful servant!” said his master. “You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!” [Matthew 25:21 (GNT)]
The Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory. Then he will pay back each person based on what that person has done. [Matthew 16:27 (GNT)]
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