When I graduated from Denver Seminary, I felt a mixture of pride, gratitude, relief, and excitement. It was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Master of Divinity. The title feels regal. The degree took tons of work. Many late nights. Tears. Anxiety. Stress. And all goodness.
Part of the graduation ceremony was the distributing of awards to the graduates. Awards for things like best preacher, excellence in spiritual formation, missions, leadership, GPA, etc. One by one the names were called out as dear friends of mine walked on stage to receive their rewards.
My name was never called.
I was proud of my friends for sure. But there was part of me that wondered, why not me?
I worked just as hard. I think I was respected by the faculty. What could I have done differently that might have brought me to the stage?
In life today, I feel I continue to live in obscurity and I suspect I am not alone. In the hierarchy of life, perhaps you, like me, feel you are somewhere towards the bottom of the food chain. While others receive promotions, public recognition, and even awards, our hard work goes unnoticed. We feel that maybe we’re not good enough. We’ve missed our chance. We’ve been passed over.
But God doesn’t miss it.
He sees it all.
He sees the ninth diaper change, the extra effort on the rough draft, the high ethics on the job. He notices the kind word, the deep breathes, the managed temper.
We may feel that our work doesn’t matter, perhaps our skills are not up to par, but God doesn’t miss a thing.
In 1 Corinthians 12:21-23, Paul wrote:
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.
And in another place Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
God isn’t looking to see if we are honored by people. We might not be the best at what we do, receiving awards distributed by grad schools, but God has given to us the gifts we have; therefore they are vital in His Kingdom. We may feel left out, forgotten, or even despised in this world, but God is not of this world. He sees you, He knows you, He is with you.
I recently heard that Billy Graham once said,
God doesn’t bless the fruitful, he blesses the faithful.
So keep doing with what you are doing to serve Him with the perfect amount of gifting which He has given. Keep writing that blog, greeting the shut in neighbor, serving the poor. Keep doing your best work on the dead-end job, calming those tantrums, and mopping those floors. Keep giving, forgiving, and loving faithfully.
It hasn’t been missed.
He is right there with you every step of the way.
This post is the result of a prompt from Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. The word today is “Miss.” Confession: This took me longer than five minutes. It’s a message for myself and it took time to hear it. And just like all Five Minute Friday posts, it feels rough around the edges as it rubs against the tender places of my heart.
Thank you, God, for your faithfulness to me. And for your generous gifts. Amen.