Years ago, I was given the opportunity to serve in a leadership role beyond just my own church. The woman I served under, cautioned me to be prepared for the neglect of “people”. The more people you serve, she warned, the more opportunities to be taken for granted. But she didn’t tell me this out of bitterness. I can remember clearly her gentle tone. What she did was teach me the most important question to ask yourself when you are in ministry. The question is this: “Who are you working for?”
And since that time, I have found, time and again, that truly, that question does put everything into perspective.
If I spend hours praying and preparing for children’s church and pour every last bit of energy I have into the service itself, and not one parent says thanks, I can ask myself that question.
If there is a staff issue, a conflict over facilities or resources, and the children’s ministry takes a backseat while the other department goes with their schedule as planned, I can ask myself that question.
If I go weeks on end without a “thank you” from a parent, if I work hours on end without notice from my pastor, if the new program I have dreamed of starting is put on the back burner by the board, or if my spouse just doesn’t understand my passion for a volunteer ministry, I can ask myself that question.
Who am I working for? I’m working for the One who birthed this passion in my heart from before I was born. I’m working for the One who knows not only the number of hairs on my head, but also the number of hours I have labored for Him. I’m working for the One who knows my heart, my dreams, my vision. He knows my hurts, my frustrations, and my weakness. And not one minute spent serving Him goes unnoticed. If I’m working for the recognition of man, I will become angry or hurt. But if my heart is set on serving the One who called me, what people think doesn’t really matter. I may not receive thank you’s from the parents whose children have been taught with excellence under my leadership. I may not be completely appreciated by the staff and board of my church. But the One who I’m working for has noticed. His approval is all I need.
So, who are you working for?