Then the king said to Zadok, 'Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord's eyes, He will bring me back and let me see it and His dwelling place again. But if He says, 'I am not pleased with you,' then I am ready; let Him do to me whatever seems good to Him.
- 2 Samuel 15:25-26 NIV
These words of King David have been a profound inspiration to me at times when I've felt overlooked, passed over, or treated unfairly. David is considered by many to be the most victorious warrior of all time, and yet when his own son, Absalom, conspires against him to steal his throne, instead of retaliating, he commits himself to God and His sense of justice. He doesn't whine, complain, or feel sorry for himself. He just basically says, "Lord, I put myself in Your hands. Do with me whatever You think is right. I trust You." And David's attitude was a Christlike one, according to the Scripture which says: "When [Jesus] suffered, He did not threaten to get even. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly." (1 Peter 2:23 NLT) As it turned out, the Lord did restore David to his throne, and I believe that his unwavering trust in God was the main reason why.
Sooner or later, all of us will experience the pain and disappointment of having our efforts ignored, minimized, or criticized by others. I believe that how we respond in times like these not only indicates our level of spiritual maturity, but also determines our outcome. One thing that helps me is remembering that whatever we do should be done "unto the Lord." The apostle Paul wrote: "Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters, remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all He owns. He is the one you are really working for." (Colossians 3:23-24 TLB) These verses clearly convey the perspective we should have in all we do. If we focus on pleasing God and doing our best in everything, we won't be so resentful, hurt, or discouraged when others don't appreciate or reward our efforts. Instead, we can rest secure in the knowledge that God is fully aware of all we do, and He will see that we get the recognition and reward we deserve in His perfect way and timing. Even if those we are working for are continually unreasonable or unfair, we can take heart from God's reassurance that "nothing can hinder the Lord." (1 Samuel 14:6 NLT) There may be times when it looks like others are succeeding in delaying or preventing our progress, but the truth is that when God decides to bless and promote His people, no person on earth and no devil in hell can stop Him. If you can relate to this message today, let me encourage you to get your eyes off other people and get them squarely on God. Work hard and do your best in all you do, trusting that the Lord Himself will honor you for it, even if others don't. Let your declaration of faith be the psalmist's--"You will give me greater honor than before, and turn again and comfort me"! (Psalm 71:22 TLB)
Prayer: Lord, I believe that true honor and promotion come from You. (Psalm 75:6-7 TLB) When my efforts are overlooked or unappreciated, I ask that You help me to respond in a Christlike manner. Strengthen me to resist becoming angry, resentful, frustrated or discouraged. Show me how to pray for those who treat me unfairly. Thank You that as I depend on You for justice and reward, You will lift me up and exalt me at the proper time! (1 Peter 5:6)
- J. M. Farro