You’ve done the work, and it was good. But, boy, it would sure be nice for someone to recognize it once in a while. How hard is it to just say, “good job?” or “here’s a raise!” anyway? (Okay, maybe “good job” is enough for now.)
It’s hard to keep on doing the good work when you feel like no one sees it. Maybe you’ve even seen others praised for the good work you contributed to, and you feel passed over—forgotten.
If you’re trusting in Christ, there is good news for you even when there is no “good job” for you at work. Here are some truths to dwell on in the midst of unrecognition:
Even if no one in your workplace, home or family sees the good work you are doing, God does. This isn’t just a cop out. This is such a central character quality of God that Hagar, a destitute and pregnant slave woman wandering the desert, proclaimed in the midst of her dire circumstances, simply: “You are the God who sees” (Gen. 16:13 NIV). When no one else saw her unjust predicament, God did.
The writer of Hebrews confirms that this seeing is still a defining characteristic of the God who watches over us and our work. “For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for His name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them.” (Heb. 6:10). When no one else does, be encouraged: God sees.
Humility is always a gift for the Christian.
Philippians 2:3 tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition of conceit, but in humility (to) consider others as more important than yourselves.” Why? Because our Savior “did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead, He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a servant…” (v.7). Humility, therefore, is always an opportunity to share, or to literally fellowship in, the sufferings of Christ. (1 Peter 4:13).
This could mean letting others take the credit, even at cost to yourself, knowing that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:7 NLT).
We can do this only by the grace God supplies. Because, in the end—whether or not we get the credit we’re due in this life—we who are in Christ can look forward to hearing God’s “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
Look for resurrection.
In his book, J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life, Paul E. Miller makes a compelling case for the inherent value of humility. He writes that the way of the Christian life, like the way of Christ, is one that goes down into suffering and humility before going up into resurrection and exaltation. In this way, “weakness,” he writes, “is the Spirit’s womb.” In other words, our rejection and lowliest places are the corners of our life in which God delights to work.
This J-Curve pattern—going down before going up—is written across the Scriptures. So Christians who find themselves in the bottom of that curve can take comfort: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Jesus pointed out during his earthly ministry that this type of humility was a marker of belonging to the kingdom of God: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). And that it runs counter to the wisdom of the world in which we currently do our work.
If you feel overlooked and taken for granted, take heart. Your Savior was, too. But he who was brought low for us has now been exalted, just as he predicted: “As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).