When No One Seems to Notice

by Ava Pennington @AvaPennington

Ministry can sometimes be discouraging work in the best of times. It may become even more discouraging when we’ve poured ourselves into our calling and no one seems to notice our efforts. Or maybe we’ve worked and worked . . . and someone else gets the credit for what we’ve accomplished.

As Christians, we know we serve to glorify the Lord. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world . . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16 NIV). The goal of our work is to glorify the Father, not ourselves.

Still, it’s natural to want someone to notice and acknowledge our efforts. We all need encouragement. Certainly, the Bible exhorts us to encourage one another.

But the Lord knows our hearts. He knows our motivations. I’ve found God will frequently allow periods of anonymity or discouragement in my life to reveal my motives. If I’m ready to give up because of a lack of recognition or appreciation, that tells me my motives have been all wrong.

It’s no accident that among the hundreds of named women in Scripture, there are also more than one hundred references to unnamed individual women or groups of women. Immortalized in Scripture for all time, yet virtually unknown apart from being identified by their circumstances. It doesn’t seem quite fair.

Yet nothing escapes God’s notice. He knows who they are—each and every one of them. And he knows who we are, what we’re doing, and why we do it. Jesus reminded his followers that “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30 NIV). In Genesis 16:13, Hagar was amazed that God knew all about her, and she called Him El Roi, the God Who Sees.

So the next time you’re discouraged because of a lack of recognition or appreciation, there’s only one thing to do. Run straight into the arms of El Roi. Take comfort in knowing the Lord sees all you do and will reward you in His time and in His perfect way.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10 NIV).

So who are we really serving? Paul reminds us in I Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV), “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” And in Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV), he wrote, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

When we’re in ministry the recognition and pay may not be much, but we can look forward to a retirement plan that’s out of this world!

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward his name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. Hebrews 6:10 NASB

When No One Seems to Notice – insight from @AvaPennington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

© 2010 Martin Alan Grivjack Photography Martin Alan Grivjack Photography

About the authorAva Pennington is an author, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) teacher, and speaker. Her most recent book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God, is endorsed by Kay Arthur of Precepts Ministries.

Ava has also published stories in 30+ anthologies, including 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse.

She is a passionate speaker and delights in encouraging groups with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever struggled with a lack of recognition?

5 thoughts on “When No One Seems to Notice

  1. What a great article! There have been times when I wished I had won a contest or been recognized for the hard work put into something I have written. Yet, when I pause and remember my goal in writing is to glorify Him and not myself, everything is put into the right perspective. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good insights! I remember once, years ago, when I had developed a leadership training program for junior high, and my class led the worship service one Sunday. They read Scripture, they led cheers for Jesus, they did an Irish dance to a song from Revival In Belfast, and enthusiastically got everyone involved in the worship. The president of Promise Keepers International was at our little church that day. After I left to take my class to our room, he went on and on about how he’d never seen such a demonstration of leadership from junior high children before – and he had been all around the world observing churches. My friends said he spent about 10 minutes on the subject! The youth pastor of our church took all the credit for this! I was angry. It was SO hard to let others take credit for my work after all the hours of teaching and prayer I’d done for these children! Yet, I needed to let go and trust God for the reward. You nailed it, Ava.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a timely article for me today. Today at work marks 29 years for a coworker and myself. Human resources sent a company wide email announcement of her 29 years with our company. With no mention of my 29 years. As I’ve read the dozens of congratulations to her ( including my regards to this awesome co-worker ) I can honestly say I am not upset. I am content and grateful in our Lord’s recognition of who I am in Him. That’s more than enough for me!


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