A Job Well Done

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV

“Praise and appreciation are the fuel that drives achievement.”

My thoughts today are about “a job well done.”

What is any more satisfying than to be complimented for something that you have done, and done well? Hollywood, Broadway, and Nashville give numerous awards for entertainers in movies, television, videos, stage, and most genres of music, it seems. In addition, there is the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding public service and achievement in American journalism, letters, and music; the Nobel Prizes for significant achievement, the best known of which is the Nobel Peace Prize; and one of the more prestigious, the Peabody Award in electronic media.

Praise and appreciation are the fuel that drives achievement. Parents accomplish that with their words, smiles, and hugs. Bosses do that with awards, plaques, certificates, bonuses or raises. Any award seems to mean more when the person or group giving recognition means the most to you. A stranger’s compliment may be flattering but fleeting; a friend’s praise is cherished forever.

I am not sure there would be any little league teams if Mom and Dad were not in the stands. Those kids don’t yet play for the love of the game; they play for the cheers and congratulations of their parents and coaches. Some years ago, when our children were young, my stepfather gave me great parenting advice, “every child needs a sufficient number of ‘atta boys or ‘atta girls every day.” If those don’t come from you, they will seek them elsewhere.

Let me add a small word of caution. The need for applause and public acclaim can become seductive, even addictive, feeding the ego and pride rather than inspiring better efforts and greater accomplishments. Your best work and deepest satisfaction should come when you find  personal joy in your own sense of knowing you offered your best and God is pleased, whether noticed by others or not.

There is a warning the Bible offers as well. Jesus warned those who “loved the praise (and approval) from men more than the praise (and approval) from God.” John 12:43 NIV/NAS. However great the applause and recognition of others might be, you will find no greater satisfaction than at the moment you finally stand before God and hear the Savior’s words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 5:21 NKJV. May that entrance be grand and to the applause of Heaven! Every earthly trophy and tribute will pale in comparison. Live always with Heaven in mind.

When all is said and done, the only opinions that ultimately matter are the Lord’s, and your own. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” Ephesians 6:8 NIV. Your life should not accept any such distinction between the sacred and the secular. All you do for the cause and name of Christ is holy.

My prayer for you today is: don’t live for the crowd’s applause or approval; it never lasts.