The next week I turned in the manuscript for my fourth one-year devotional. No one will ever know how much time went into this project, I thought. Between crafting the proposal, researching the material, coming up with 365 different ideas, studying Scriptures—not to mention the writing—it must have added up to a couple thousand hours at least.
I wish I didn’t have such a deep need for other people’s approval and appreciation for what I do. Although I can’t match the seemingly unnatural work ethic of the “ideal” woman described in Proverbs 31, I would love to get the same reaction she does. Her children stand up and bless her for her hard work. Her husband praises her above all other women. It’s clear from the passage that a love for her family and a desire to honor God are what motivate this woman to be the best she can be. But surely she must feel warmed and honored by her family’s compliments and glad that her efforts are appreciated.
In reality, few women receive such recognition. Instead of standing up and calling us blessed, our children may just sit down and ask what’s for dinner. Our husbands are usually oblivious to all that we do behind the scenes. Our employers, coworkers, and fellow church members probably have no idea how much extra effort we put in on that last project. But it’s comforting to know that Someone notices every little thing we do, and He promises to reward us someday.
God sees every act of service on our part, whether small or great; He also sees our motivation. He knows whether our desire is to draw attention to ourselves and win admiration from other people, or to serve others and bring Him glory. We can test our motives by asking, “Would I be doing this if no one except God knew about it?” If the answer is “yes”, then we can expect a reward from our heavenly Father.
It would be nice if other people remembered to thank us for our hard work, but that won’t always happen. When we’re longing for a little appreciation, we can remember Who it is that we really serve. And we can look forward to hearing Him say the words that will make everything we ever did worth it all: “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Each devotional in The One Year Women of the Bible focuses on a woman in the Bible and a woman today. You'll hear the perspective of faithful women like Sarah, Elizabeth, and Abigail along with the less faithful women, such as Jezebel, and lesser-known characters who are often overlooked. You'll also read about everyday contemporary women struggling with similar problems and issues. Daily practical application encourages the reader to search out the spiritual lessons and principles offered in these timeless stories.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dianne Matthews has written numerous devotionals, magazine articles, and newspaper features. Her work has appeared in Focus on the Family, The Quiet Hour, LIVE, The Christian Communicator, on websites including CBN.com, and in several compilation books. She is the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible (Tyndale) and Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture (Baker). Dianne is a CLASS graduate and a member of Advanced Writers & Speakers, Christian Authors Network, and Toastmasters International. She and her husband, Richard, currently live in Salt Lake City and miss their three grown children and two adorable grandchildren.
You can visit Dianne at