WHAT IF I WAS NEVER THANKED? HOW DO I HANDLE BEING UNAPPRECIATED?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Dear Christian friend, it is only natural to want to feel appreciated. If we do something kind or thoughtful for somebody, we expect a “thank you”—especially another Christian. Howbeit, that “thank you” may, unfortunately, never come. Perhaps there was ungratefulness or even envy that prevented such an expression of gratitude. Strange as it sounds, maybe the person is just not accustomed to thanking others. Regardless of the reason, how would God have us respond?
Saint, never forget, you will reap exactly what you sow—both in this life and the next. Galatians 6:7-9: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
That which is done in and through by Jesus Christ will result in something of eternal value, but that which is accomplished by anyone else is perpetually worthless. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will see once and for all the quality of service to Father God each of us Christians rendered as individuals. See 1 Corinthians 3:9-15, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, and Romans 14:10-12. We do not have to worry if someone overlooks our kindheartedness. We do not have to fret because no human eyes witnessed what we did in secret. God saw, and that is that!
It is also extremely important never to boast, “Look what (how much) I did for the Lord! No one is more dedicated than I am!” Frankly, we have extremely limited understanding of exactly what occurred. Sin keeps us from properly evaluating situations. Even a Christian’s heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Emotions can and frequently do deceive because they distort our perception of reality. Sin often fools us into thinking what we did was right when it was really wrong, and vice versa. Moreover, we do not have perfect recollection of what took place. While the outward activity appeared good, we could have had evil intentions (behaving to show off, to obtain the praise of men, to feel religious, and so on).
In light of the above, the Apostle Paul never wanted to judge even his own accomplishments as being acceptable or unacceptable. (We will read those verses shortly.) It is not so much what he did or how much he did it, but rather what was his spirit— mental disposition—while doing it. What was his heart attitude when walking at any one point in his life and ministry? Was it God’s Word (sound Bible doctrine) working in him by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, or was it Paul in his own strength trying to imitate the life of Christ? This is a good question even for us, as the two can look identical (to us). Only God Almighty can fairly evaluate and determine the internal situation: He sees the difference between the genuine life of Christ and counterfeits (religious works). Sin is not in God’s mind to corrupt His thinking. Make no mistake; we can be absolutely sure in leaving those things for God to decide whether it is reward or loss of reward. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). Indeed, indeed, indeed, HE SHALL!
Second Corinthians 5:9-10 remarks, “ Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” We are not looking for man’s acceptance; we are looking for God’s acceptance. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We are not seeking man’s approval but rather God’s approval.
Let us consider the case of the Corinthians. False teachers had entered Corinth and taught these saints how to be critical of Paul now that he was gone (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:6-21; 2 Corinthians 10:10-11, 2 Corinthians 12:15; 2 Corinthians 13:3). The Corinthians—whom Paul led out of paganism and to Jesus Christ—criticize the apostle because he was not part of the “in-crowd” of religion. Paul did not sound philosophical—using elaborate, flattering terminology to manipulate his audience (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 11:6; Colossians 2:4,8). He did not put them under the Law like the legalists, Judaizers, denominationalists (2 Corinthians 11:13-22). By man’s standards, Paul preached a bizarre message and conducted a weird ministry!!! However, that did not matter because he was Christ’s minister. Christ Jesus his Master was the Person to whom he was ultimately responsible.
First Corinthians chapter 4: “ Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”
According to verse 3, Paul considered it “no big deal” that the Corinthians were evaluating his performance. They were deceived, and yet they audaciously claimed they could rate truth and gauge proper Christian living?! Can immature believers honestly appraise the conduct of mature believers? Should children be critiquing adults’ performance?! Verses 3-4 again: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” What ultimately matters, dear friend, is that God knows the truth. He saw it all, and you can rest assured that your service to Him will not be overlooked. Be not concerned of man’s opinions about you!
Verse 5 once more: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” Why are there Christian good works in your life, dear brother or sister? Have you been striving to get the approbation of your fellow man? Well, you may just not get it! Have you been doing it all to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ? Was it sound doctrine working in you? Then, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will indeed have “praise of God!”
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Colossians 3:23-25).
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).