"Our daily lives are replete with often-unnoticed heroes who simply help people where they can. You may not read about them in the newspaper and they may never receive prestigious awards, but still they shine like rare jewels." --Alan Cohen, "Wisdom of the Heart"
The Hope Diamond (above) is considered a rare gem because of its color and perfection. Its weight is only 45.52 carats--while quite large, not the largest out there. The gemstone is thought to have been first acquired in 1653 at around 115 carats and cut for Louis XIV about 1668 into a 67.125-carat stone. It has changed hands many times and refashioned into different forms of jewelry. It is presently housed in the Smithsonian Institute.
Because I was a shy child I did not seek the limelight, but I did long to be noticed by at least a few. Because of my parents' problems and because I took on the role as the family's "good little girl" I often felt neglected. Whether it was my behavior, my grades, my accomplishments, as long as they didn't bring criticism I felt OK. Once I grew up and entered the working world I discovered one could be recognized for being good. This was new to me and I found I quite enjoyed it. I didn't realize how much until I left the workplace to have children. Suddenly I no longer had a 6-month review that praised my performance with a raise.
Having babies, though, had its own rewards. The little beings doted on me at first--like little puppy dogs. It was endearing. But soon enough they discovered there was more to life than their Mommy, and I had to find other ways to fulfill that need to be recognized. I found it in many forms--my activities in the church, the hospitality I offered in my home, my home itself and my gardens. Then in my writing. But I often found myself giving more than I felt I was "getting" in return for all my effort--the "getting" being the recognition. This is commonly referred to as "burn out."
God has addressed this area of my life in many ways. I have been a slow learner, though. I've often responded to that still small voice that was saying "you'll be recognized once you stop craving it" with, "But Lord, then I won't need it!" and then laugh at myself because of the absurdity. It always put things into perspective for me though, and made me determined to focus on the process rather than the end result (the recognition I might or might not receive).
Life is meant to be enjoyed along the way and not for the rewards it might bring later. How often do you hear stories about people who have devoted their entire lives to obtaining a goal, whether it be the size of their bank account/house/car or their sports/artistic/ professional accomplishment only to feel that it's still "not enough." What they found at the end of their accomplishment did not satisfy as they'd hoped so they had to set the bar higher.
Well, I know why. Because they, I, strived for the goal for themselves. Scripture tells us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." (Colossians 3:23) "Human masters," in my case, was myself.
You've heard the saying, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." Well, I'm here to say, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing with all your heart for the Lord." After all, He created you and me and knew us even before He formed us in our mother's womb. (Jeremiah 1:5) We belong to God and it is He that we should be doing all things for.
So the next time someone does something for you, know that it is God looking after you--even if they might be doing it for the recognition it might bring them. They might not be blessed for it, but you will. And if you are the one doing the kind thing for someone else, know that if you are doing it for the Lord, you will be rewarded by Him for it.
Father, make my heart pure so that all that I do is for the right reason--YOU.
Link to scripture: Luke 6:35