Today’s post really smacked me in the face. I’ve read this verse before but not in a way that made me realize how much I look for approval in other people. So many times we want other people to tell us things like: “You are doing a great job!” “Thank you!” “Great message” “I really need your help” “Here is a gift card for helping out” “You are awesome” “Can you teach me this…” and the list goes on. We all want people to encourage/uplift us and to honestly puff up our heads. We love to feel loved don’t we? Listen to what Jesus says about this:
7 “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? 8 No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ 9And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”
When I read this verse I felt a punch to my throat and God telling me, “Who are you working for?” I don’t know about you but I look constantly for that approval, those words of affirmation, something that tells me that I am doing this whole ministry thing right. But Jesus says, “stop working for people, work for only me and don’t expect anything, I’ve already given you eternal life, freedom from guilt/stress, peace, forgiveness of sins!”
This is not easy for me to swallow as my whole life I’ve dealt with this:
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
This past summer I took the Strengths Quest and my top strengths were:
You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people. In the truest sense of the word you want to be recognized. You want to be heard. You want to stand out. You want to be known. In particular, you want to be known and appreciated for the unique strengths you bring. You feel a need to be admired as credible, professional, and successful. Likewise, you want to associate with others who are credible, professional, and successful. And if they aren’t, you will push them to achieve until they are. Or you will move on. An independent spirit, you want your work to be a way of life rather than a job, and in that work you want to be given free rein, the leeway to do things your way. Your yearnings feel intense to you, and you honor those yearnings. And so your life is filled with goals, achievements, or qualifications that you crave. Whatever your focus—and each person is distinct—your Significance theme will keep pulling you upward, away from the mediocre toward the exceptional. It is the theme that keeps you reaching.
I have a long way to go. But, what I’m learning is that I can use affirmation and encouragement from others to fuel me towards Christ’s work for my life…not my own worth.
Who are you working for? Yourself? Others? Where are you seeking approval? (p.s. WordPress automatically puts a “Like this” button at the bottom of my posts, ha!)
p.s. Are you a communicator/speaker in the ministry world? Check out this article from Perry Noble about this topic when it comes to speaking.