"I know your works"
I'm thinking a lot about appreciation today. A couple of incidents have collided in my brain to teach me a lesson. I love it when that happens....
The first was the fact that my father had a mild heart attack two weeks ago. I live close to my parents, so I was able to visit him in the hospital, and help my mother out by making phone calls, waiting at their house for an important delivery they were expecting, and just being support for her in general. My two sisters live out of town, so all they could do was call and text. Which is wonderfully comforting and supportive in its own way, but they both wanted to do more. So they both thanked me more than once for being helpful to Mom, and visiting Dad. But I was just doing what should have been done ~ what I wanted to do. I didn't think it was necessary to thank me.
Last week I saw a friend that I haven't seen in awhile. She and I chatted and got caught up, and then my Amazing Boy came up. She'd been his teacher at our Bible Study, and he said hi to her, and told her he misses her. She emailed me later and told me how much that had meant to her, which I shared with him. I said that was very nice of him, but he didn't feel like he'd really done anything special. All he did was tell her he misses her. He didn't think it was necessary to thank him.
The other day I had to run an errand. Usually, if I have a quick errand to run, I leave the kids at home so they can work on their schoolwork and household chores. But for some reason, I just didn't feel like going alone, so I asked my Amazing Boy to go with me. He readily agreed. As it turned out, it was a good thing. My cellphone rang twice, and of course I wasn't able to answer because I was driving. He listened to the voice mail on the first call, so that I'd know who it was, and how quickly I'd need to call them back. The second time, it was the Apple of my Eye, so my Amazing Boy answered it, and was able to answer the question he had. Very helpful! Then, when I arrived at the place to run my errand, their computers were down, so I wasn't able to accomplish what I needed to. I'd have been very frustrated without my boy there. He's very light-hearted, and often keeps me from being cranky when life is not going my way. Afterwards, I thanked him several times, just for being there. It had been such a blessing for me. But all he had done was go for a ride with me, and answer my phone. He didn't think it was necessary to thank him.
I know God's not giving points for the loving, caring things we do, but what if He did? How would He judge the worth of our actions? Would it be based on what it cost us, or what it was worth to someone else? Or maybe both? Certainly there have been times in my life, when I have gone out of my way for someone. Dug deep, reached to the sky, gone the extra mile.... and then had it gone unappreciated, or even unnoticed. Sometimes it hurts when that happens... But nothing goes unnoticed by Him ~ remember the widow's mite? Surely, no one noticed that paltry offering. No one but Him. What she gave was a fragrant offering to Him because of what it cost her. I'm not sure he's interested in what we give, that costs us nothing. That's not a sacrifice, after all.
But on the other hand, there are times when I've been extremely appreciative for something someone has done for me. I'm out late once a week, and when I get home, tired and hungry, my Awesome Girl makes me dinner. It's something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich, but what more could I want? It satisfies my hunger, and what's more appreciable than that? And of course, gifts, thoughtfulness, compliments or encouragements... priceless. And what about someone who exercises the gifts God has given them? Ever been touched to the heart by a piece of music, or a poem, or a book? For someone without the gift of songwriting or poetry, it would be painful to try to create something beautiful. So we (those of us without the gift of songwriting or poetry) deeply appreciate the work of those who can, even though the artist might feel it was nothing special.
I know God is not giving points. But He values our actions, just like He did the widow's. And I think He's pleased with those who write or sing or play, simply because they are making use of the gifts He has given, and He knows how much it is blessing someone, regardless of the effort that was required to create it. And I think He's pleased when we dig deep and sacrifice some part of ourselves for someone else, even if they don't appreciate it. And I think he's pleased when we are able, even with very little effort, to bring someone joy or peace or rest, because of something we've done.
And that realization makes me want to fully appreciate those around me, who bless me; and to fully appreciate being appreciated.
~ "in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" ~
1 Thessalonians 5:18