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Our Reasonable Service — 18 Comments

  1. And yet everyone needs to know they are appreciated! Need balance, not to ignore gratefulness for a job well done! Include a thankful praise and comment for a job done well!

  2. Everyone likes to know their efforts are appreciated can you imagine telling your spouse these are the things you are supposed to do anyway.We go to work day after day doing the work we are supposed to do and doesnt a little good job every now and then lift the spirit.One day we will hear well done thy good and faithful servent.

  3. Yes Sharon and Karie, we should show appreciation and there is a good balance to be found, the problem is finding that balance. Today I often hear people telling others how "awesome" they are, while many feel only God is "awesome." When we start using the same words to describe each other that we use to describe God is when I am afraid our society is getting carried away. And while one does want to show appreciation for their spouse we must make sure we are dong things out of love and not for praise. Jesus did not tell the parable I shared for no reason at all. Yes, one day Jesus will tell us "well done" but remember flattery is one of Satan's tools, and it is important to know the difference between Jesus saying well done, and Satan just flattering us. The purpose of my post is not to discourage kind encouraging words. It is to ask if our society has gone overboard with praising humans, to the point that when we say God is "Awesome" we have already used that kind of praise for fallible human beings so much that the word becomes meaningless.

    • Thank you William, I do agree!

      I once heard someone complaining bitterly about working so very hard and going the extra mile, putting in extra hours with no extra pay. After only a few months came bonus time and the person received a small bonus.

      Instead of looking at the small bonus as a welcome gift, this person had instead bemoaned not receiving more! This person didn't go to work for the next few days, in order to punish the boss...what?

      ...even missing out on attending the work Christmas do to show disdain for the small token of appreciation from work in recognition of a job well done.

      Yes, certainly, we all need a well done from time to time, which is why God made sure we knew and understood this when Paul penned Romans 13:7 similarly we also know that we are not to work for praise from people John 12:43 but out of character...to reflect His Character 🙂

  4. I hear alot of my Christian brothers and sisters whom when thanked or appreciated for their service or faith and love to God and others, they humbly respond, "Thank you, all praise be to God, we are happy to be of His service". I in turn feel humbled by their response. Being called to several church leadership roles for 2018, yes, it is my reasonable service that God has called according to the capacities he has blessed me with to Glorify and Honor Him. All thanks and praise must be to Him first.

  5. We need to think seriously about how we apply this to our perception of Salvation. All to often we think of Salvation as the reward that the end of our earthly life. A sort of celestial retirement plan. That sort of thinking is little more than spiritual cargo-cultism.

    There is of course a real heaven and I am not denying that but there is also the opportunity of living a saved life now irrespective of the heavenly reward. As I have stated in previous discussions, I have atheistic friends who live fulfilling lives now simply because it is the right thing to do. They do not expect to be "saved". They do not expect either praise or rewards - they simply want to do the right thing and that is the reward in itself. In many respects we would do well to have that sort of attitude.

    Next time you find yourself saying, "I cannot wait till I get to heaven", stop for a moment and think about the present.

  6. We see that apostle Paul always gave praise and glory to God in his letters to the early Christians, for their faith, service and sacrifice.
    1 Corinthians 1:4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you…
    2 Corinthians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…..
    Ephesians 1: 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son.
    Philippians 1: 3-5 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. (4) Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, (5) for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
    I am sure the recipients of these letters would have felt highly encouraged and appreciated to carry on their work of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  7. Thank you, William, for tackling this sensitive subject. And let's start off by noting that a simple "thank you" is not what you are addressing. If we appreciate something someone has done, it's courteous and appropriate to say a simple "Thank you."

    I believe you are addressing the praise of a person, as though they had some special merit, as well as protesting special praise given for doing an ordinary job well. I believe you are also protesting that sense of entitlement that expects praise for just doing one's "reasonable service."

    I'm glad you mentioned young people, because for decades parents and educators have been encouraged to do the very thing against which you caution. It has already resulted in a couple of generations of people with a sense of entitlement, rather than a spirit of service. In America, and perhaps elsewhere, we see this sense of entitlement acted out in crime as well as rioting in the streets.

    I remember that Jesus called His followers to deny themselves and take up their cross daily. (Luke 9:23) That's a call to dying to self that is not well served by praise of an individual.

    I believe we do harm when we praise children, youth, pastors or leaders as though they are exceptional or "awesome." That's different from expressing appreciation for something done. For instance, saying, "That sermon really helped me to see Jesus more clearly" is something to which the pastor can reply with gratitude, and that is good. "Thank you for washing the dishes," is appropriate to say to a child. Effusive praise is not. Several generations ago, parents knew this, and their children did not grow up with the sense of entitlement we see today.

    However, your post is a hard sell in today's society that is all focused on "me." Executives are sent to workshops where they learn to focus on how great they are, in some cases being literally told to look in the mirror in the morning and tell themselves they are "awesome," they "will shine," that sort of thing. Our media, including social media, promote the idea that we are are all exceptional. We should praise ourselves, we should indulge ourselves, etc. Advertisers promote it.

    It seems that the whole world is focused on the polar opposite of Christ's calling to self-less service. The polar opposite of the law of life for earth and heaven, express in Desire of Ages, p. 19:

    Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which “seeketh not her own” has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.

    We need to give some thoughtful attention of how we can use our words to help others focus on Christ.

    By contrast, the enemy of Christ does all he can to encourage focus on self to discourage any focus on Christ who only can save. Let's not help him in that.

  8. Thank you William and Inge for clearly diffentiating the fine line between showing appreciation and gratitude and praising mortal man. This came as a breath of fresh air.

  9. Thanks so much William, Inga and all the others who posted. I for one love to give praises to people for a job well done. I tell myself they need to be encouraged, to know that they made a difference. I can see now how that could be misplaced. I resolve today to begin with, “I thank God for using you today to...”

    Part of our morning routine at school is to give “recognitions”. I see now how I can also ask students to begin their recognitions with, “Today I want to thank God for using __________ to ___________.

    But now I’m wondering if others might be wondering why God is not “using them”.

    • Eudora, last year in the fifth and sixth grade classroom I was working in as a teacher's aide, one girl had sacrificed her recess time to help another girl get caught up with her math. Once they were finished the girl who was helping the other girl came to me and told me that they were finished she had the other girl all caught up and that she was just "cool like that." I told her what was cool was God working through her. She smiled and nodded in recognition that she got the message.

    • Good on you! I used to do that too when I was a teacher. But I was not afraid to take a student aside and say to them that they were not trying hard enough. Hollow praise is flattery. We need to know when and how to praise.

      • And that is the issue Maurice, hollow praise. After a while it becomes hollow to the people who hear it too,and they know it is just flattery for other motives. Another reason why EGW says the Bible praises men extremely seldom. I still think Bible counsel is the best way to go.

        Encouragement on the other hand is very Biblical and I give that to my students every day.

  10. The question for me is how do we love, value and appreciate our fellow man without meaningless flattery and false praise?

    I don’t remember being valued as a young person. Nothing was bad enough for me and many things that were abusive were considered ‘reasonabe’ service.

    Because we humans are partial in our dealings naturally, we often accept the principles laid out above for some while excercising behaviors of flattery towards others.

    May God help us to do what is our ‘reasonable service ‘ without the need for constant appreciation or approval. May He also teach us to love and value all human beings, because we all belong to Him.


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