Robert Templeton

Robert Templeton

Now here is a touchy subject. Who among us doesn’t mind receiving an "atta boy" or a "go girl" for the effort we have given at our workplace, homes, or even in our personal and social relationships? No one wants to feel as if they are being taken for granted. Yet, isn’t this why most relationships end: one person seems to no longer be appreciated by the other person in the relationship?

Who wants to be unappreciated? Do we get up in the morning and joyfully drive to where we aren’t being appreciated, holding our breath until we get there? Or, do we seek out those who seem to show appreciation for us and build our fragile egos for us?

I looked up phrases one could use to show appreciation. The following are just a few shared: Thanks; thank you; I am indebted to you; I appreciate you; I am grateful; you’re great; you light up my life; you’re the best; and you’ve been very helpful. After reading this list, I feel an "aw, shucks" is due somewhere for the humble recipient of the appreciation being bestowed.

But what about our church service? Are we due “appreciation” from the church in which we "serve?" I understand with all the commitments we have in our families and workplace that our service in church can be a tremendous burden. Is it wrong for the church member to want their service appreciated? Is it heresy to want someone to acknowledge all that the underappreciated member has given of themselves?

That answer depends on the person seeking appreciation. How does their desire to be appreciated align with the Bible? Romans 12:1 reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." In order to “appreciate” this verse, we should first look deeper at some words within the verse itself. The word, ‘sacrifice’, at the very least, means I’m required to give up something of high value to me. The application used here entails the individual spoken of to give up their dreams, their desires. In effect, they are to die from themselves and become God’s slave. That’s where the "living" piece of this verse comes into play. If we then go to the far end of this verse, we see the phrase “reasonable service." In other words, this is the bare minimum of service expected by God of us. He offers no room for levels of service per individual. Each one of us is to give up our desire and pursue His desire … and God calls this reasonable.

If you look at the middle of the passage, this service is received by God as nothing more than “acceptable." Take a moment if you would and see if you can locate an "atta boy" or a "go girl" in there anywhere. Right about now I would ask if you are still feeling unappreciated, but that wouldn’t be showing “love” now, would it.

Since we are all equal at the foot of the cross, there is not one of us viewed any greater than the other before God. His expectation of those who profess Him as Lord and Savior is to do His will, each one of us, with a devotion to Him that is second to none other. According to God, this is reasonable and acceptable. He doesn’t pass out participation trophies, he doesn’t set aside pastor appreciation days, nor anyone else’s appreciation day for that matter. He has one thing for us to do: Share Him, promote Him, Serve Him, and the next day, start over again.

Still feeling unappreciated?

Robert Templeton is pastor of Cope Baptist Church.

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