In the book of 1 kings we are told of a devastating famine. Thousands were dying. The prophet of God, Elijah, was told to go to a dying widows house and God would do a great miracle there. In verse 17 we find that the widow’s bowl of flour and jar of oil had a continual supply until the famine ended. Elijah saved the life of the widow and her son. Shortly afterwards the son becomes ill and dies. The widow jumps all over Elijah and starts yelling at him! She begins to blame him for bringing misery and heartache to their lives. She says “You killed my son!”
Elijah had nothing to do with the son’s death. He was the one who had recently done a miracle so that they wouldn’t starve to death. Elijah prays to God and the kid is raised back to life.
Have you done something for others yet they did not appreciate it? No thank you cards? No phone call? Unappreciative kids, ungrateful grandchildren. Rude friends. Our feelings get hurt. Elijah was sorely unappreciated, even criticized. So was Paul, so was Jesus. Yet they all had one thing in common, they just kept on giving and giving.
Writing about Paul, Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) says “I will spend myself to the last ebb for you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference. So long as there is a human being that does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does.” The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow-men.”
Here is the problem. We do for others because we love them. Then we get hurt because we are not appreciated. Wrong. We should do for others only because we love the Lord and are serving Him. Then when we go unappreciated it won’t matter because we didn’t do it for them anyways.
The love of God runs deep. The love for humans is limited. No one will ever appreciate us the way the Lord does. Stop looking for praise, thanks and adulation from others. Only give to others as though you were doing it just for the Lord. Then you can say like Paul “If they hate me or love me I will still serve them. It makes no difference to me. I was only doing these things for the Lover of my Soul and He always appreciates me.”