Month 4:26, Week 4:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year:Day 5936:115 AM|
7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #48
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 15 July 2012
In Search of Recognition
Let's Compliment Our Unsung Heroes
Have you ever felt that you have not been given adequate recognition for all that you do for others?
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to Yahweh and not to men, knowing that from Yahweh you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Master Messiah (Lord Christ)" (Col.3:23-24, NKJV).
I was reading a piece about 'invisible mothers' the other day which re-sparked my interest in a theme which periodically turns up in the ministry. In the article the mother felt unappreciated and unrecognised for all the hard work she put into the family as a housewife. The anonymous mother recounts:
The prophet Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, must felt just like this mother at times. A man of noble birth, his gradfather having been the Governor of Jerusalem in the days of King Josiah (2 Chr.34:8), and considering all he was doing to make Jeremiah's prophecies permanent, he must have sometimes felt that he was playing second-fiddle and having to work in the background. In actual fact, Baruch got quite depressed at times, hoping that he would get some recognition for the rôle he played in the hoped-for national revival and perhaps even hoping for some recognition from the conqueror. He received none of these things. And when we read the Book of Jeremiah, we are scarcely even aware of this scribe existence.
"I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature - but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
"One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
"It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
"In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
"A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because Yahweh sees.'
- 1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names;
- 2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished;
- 3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit; and
- 4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of Yahweh saw everything.
"I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard Yahweh whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.'
"No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no hockey/soccer/piano/Scout/school meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.
"I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
"When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at four in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.'
"That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there!'
"As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers."
I take my hat off to housewives and mothers who for sure get little recognition save from good husbands and the occasional friend. Fathers experience similar frustrations, feeling that their labours are sometimes unappreciated as they slog at work to earn an income for their families - it is very easy to feel unrecognised or taken for granted because what one is doing is regarded as simply a 'duty'. But isn't that just how we all react when we are operating in the flesh? We forget that we are supposed to be doing all for Messiah, and hence for the Father, and not for recognition from others, wonderful and appreciated though such recognition is. Indeed one of the hallmarks of the flesh is that it loves to complain and rarely compliments. Shouldn't those operating in the Ruach (Spirit) be the complete reverse? Of course.
Having been a minister now for nearly three decades it can sometimes feel that one is under-appreciated. Ministers should not suppose that they are regarded or treated any differently by their congregations than the Israelites treated Yahweh in the past. Indeed, without Yahweh backing us up, it more often than not appears a thankless job. I know I have wanted to quit many times and it is only the witenss of the Ruach (Spirit) that Yahweh is pleased with me (for the most part) and the occasional compliment morsels that come my way that keep me going. I know that my labour is an investment not only now but in the future. And as a libertarian political activist too, fighting a Goliath like many others at this time, the support of those whose eyes have been opened - or are being opened - is like manna from heaven.
Our rewards are, for the most part, received in heaven after it's all over and so it's important we have accepted that and are at shalom (peace) with this reality before we start working for the King and His Kingdom. Indeed, without the spiritual regeneration of the New Birth, this wouldn't even be possible. So today I want to salute all housewives and those who serve with little recognition, as well as wanting to encourage everyone to demonstrate the grace so freely received from Yah'shua (Jesus) by being liberal in their compliments to all who serve. One compliment can turn a spiritually overcast day into one of bright sunshine! There is power in a davar (word) filled with ahavah (love).