This day, I want to say, “Good Job!” to you! “Well Done, My Friend!”
Yes, I want to extend a word of praise and thanks to you and for you!
When was the last time some one took you aside and said with bucket loads of grace and sincerity, “I have noticed your faithfulness. I have appreciated your dedication. I have recognized your efforts. I have seen the burden of what you are carrying as you do so many different things every single day for the good of your family and for others. I am aware of the cost and the sacrifice.”
How often do we come alongside a family member or friend and say, “You are doing an incredible job! An amazing job! And I appreciate it!”
These words may come at times of recognition. I’ve seen sports’ awards, school achievements, drama performance accolades, dance honors, and more posted on Facebook. In addition, support and love are poured out generously upon those undergoing surgery, dealing with radiation or chemotherapy or other significant life challenges.
But what about the kind of love, support and care we need in just the day-to-day kind of stuff?
There is no glory in changing a diaper.
There is no “whoop whoop” in helping a child with homework for the umpteenth time.
There is no magnificence in cleaning a toilet.
There is no homage in keeping the gas/petrol tank full.
There is no exaltation in washing dishes.
There is no great delight in the menial chore.
Dust, stains and scum continue to settle and build up in our homes and in our lives in one way or another. Some one has to deal with it.
And what about the kind of effort, conviction and sacrifice it takes to come alongside some one who is struggling with a very difficult issue?
What kind of pleasure does one receive in confronting the alcoholism of a friend or family member?
What kind of joy does anyone take in dealing with the ongoing effects of a wayward child?
What kind of acclaim comes when you are helping some one deal with manic depression?
Honestly, this is trench work.
Well, for me, if I was sitting with you right now, I would say,
“You are marvelous!”
“You are phenomenal!”
“You are amazing!”
You have determined within your heart and mind to do what needs to be done in your life in the here and now. You do it without thought of recognition or desire for praise. You do it because it needs to be done. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. You do it as an expression of your love and commitment. You do it because such things bring honor to your God.
I believe with all of my heart that our God sees what you are doing too.
In the day-to-day life routines and trench work of life when no one else may be looking, be assured of this: your God is looking. And not only that, He is waiting for you and me to come to Him for help and guidance as we deal with the muck. I know I need help in the trenches.
Living on the mission field, raising children, two of them on the autism spectrum, dealing with the after effects of cancer, and doing the normal kind of stuff that no one really notices or may even care about, I need my God to guide me and show me how to go forward. I need His attention and I need His wisdom.
Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord. Proverbs 8: 32-35 NIV
I believe that our day-to-day, trench-work kind of lives require us to listen, watch and wait upon our God. And as we do this, we find our strength, our conviction and our joy as we receive favor from our God to do the work we are asked. It may not come with praise and accolades. This favor, I think, is the assurance of His presence. This favor is that He sees us and knows what’s going on. It is the peace and rest we are bestowed as we wait upon Him. It is the abundant life we are offered as we look beyond the praise, recognition and honor of men to instead doing what we can to bring honor and praise to our God. We love those in our sphere of influence like the baby with a never-ending poopy pants, the child who just can’t seem to crack long division, the friend who has cancer, the workmate who struggles with an addiction or whomever….with a merciful, gracious kind of love. We love and come alongside some one else and do the trench work because of the love we have in Christ that enables us to do it.
Paul understood the cost, sacrifice and dedication it took to keep caring for others and doing the kind of work that no one may ever notice or applaud. He prayed these words:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3: 14-21 NIV
So, my friends, “Good Job! Excellent Work! Keep it Up! You are doing great! Really!!!!”
May our God continue to be your strength, your power, your hope and your guide in the trenches of life for His glory today and throughout the generations to come! It makes a difference. And it’s noticed!