All of us like to be appreciated – for what we do, for what we say, for being there when needed. I don’t think that is vanity or lacking humility but just another indication of our very humanness.
I was invited to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Award Ceremony. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to go because I knew there would be many deputies I wouldn’t know. I was right. But the sheriff was careful to introduce me to those people and I was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation “for 27 years of service in various capacities.”
I started as a dispatcher. The sheriff department and jail shared the same building behind the courthouse so there were always people to be fed. I noticed sometimes a dispatcher would be called upon to be the cook for the day. Then one day, I was asked, “Helen, did you ever cook for a large group?” Now, this lady knew I grew up and worked in the former county home so obviously I had cooked for a crowd.
Thus, I became one of the dispatchers called upon to fill in for the regular cook when she was off. When we held female prisoners, female dispatchers became matron for the day.
Later, I took Law Enforcement training and became a special deputy.
Yes, it was a career of serving in various capacities. I appreciated the certificate as well as the opportunity to meet some younger deputies and to express my appreciation of them for the courtesy and respect they have always shown me when I worked the fair.
The very next day was our mission team reunion – a potluck dinner, a time to visit and a time to look ahead to the next trip.
One lady who had gone for the first time last fall expressed her appreciation for all team members and the ways in which they served. Maybe it didn’t come out like she was thinking but she said, “We need every team member. We all had our place to fill, even Helen.”
Ouch! That hurt! EVEN Helen? Her one year of experience compared to my 14 trips and having taken teens with me on several of those trips? EVEN Helen?
In the one year she witnessed, she saw the lady who can no longer put in a full day of work, the one who hung back from playing active games with the school children in an effort to build Christian relationships, the one who didn’t participate as much as she expected.
Still, EVEN Helen? (She probably didn’t know I finished physical therapy following back surgery just a week before the trip.)
I asked her about it. She said I was needed because I was there praying for the others who could do all those things. I reminded her I stayed at the guest house one day to care for some who were sick, too. But. from what she said, I didn’t feel she truly appreciated my efforts in behalf of team ministry or my ministry in exposing teens to mission work. I was disappointed.
We need to tell people we do appreciate their work. A simple “thank you” says you noticed.
But, when it comes to being appreciated, no one can surpass our Savior’s show of appreciation for us – an appreciation based on nothing more than our recognizing Him as Savior.
Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? Do you know Him? He will present His ultimate Certificate of Appreciation when He calls you home to spend eternity in heaven – with Him!