The following is entry #6 from the soon to be published Shepherd's Balm weekly ministry devotional by Richard Earl. It is expected in early August 2010 and can be pre-ordered at Kalosbooks.com. Additional entries will be seen here soon.
“The overwhelming majority of the Lord’s workers labor anonymously in His vineyard-often in lonely places.” (George Wood)
“One hundred years from now, it won’t matter whether you drive an expensive or cheap car, whether you live in a mansion or a rented room, or whether you buy your clothes from Nordstrom’s or Goodwill. It will not matter whether you pastored a large church or a small one; whether you preached to thousands or a handful; whether you had a public platform or ministered individually as a chaplain or counselor. What will matter 100 years from now is the legacy of your life that you pass on to others.” (George Wood)
There is much that the Lord's true servants do which no human eye takes knowledge of. What they do they are to do as to the Lord, and to look for reward from him; learning also to have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings and service.
It is our wisdom not to seek praise of men. If, in our relationships with saints, rather than look after a good name, we seek to approve ourselves to God, a good name will surely follow us.
Look not at the quantity, but the quality of your service, whatsoever that service may be. It could be preaching, preaching is not the first thing: the heart must first be kept; then two or three words spoken in the power of the spirit may avail more than many a long discourse. (RC Chapman)
We all want to be noticed. This can even become an obsession. We strive, and seek some visible success so that we can point to it and receive the “atta boy” or pat on the back. This is especially true in our late 20s and through our 30s. We are affirmed by these things - numerical growth, recognition by our peers or a mentor, being noticed by society in general. When we don’t receive them, we can feel empty.
Ideally, we ought to get these things from God. We ought not to crave the recognition of others. That is true, but we also need to know that we are making a difference, that our life’s work matters.
A counter intuitive response is to seek ministry in an obscure place, not as a stepping stone, but as a life’s work. The fact is, most of our churches are not large. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Most are not in booming communities. They are in obscure places.
Jesus was from an obscure place, and seemed to love being there. Many great people toil in obscurity their whole lives and are not seen for what they are until long after their death. Are you content to live such a life if it is God’s will for you? Or will you need to be noticed and allow that to take you places the Lord does not send you?
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.
—1 Corinthians 15:58 (The Message)