Thankless Jobs

I heard recently about a stay-at-home Mom. One evening she went to a PTA meeting and her husband and her oldest daughter got together and decided they would clean up the kitchen for her. They put up all the food, wiped all the counters, washed all the pots and put them away, put the dishes in the dishwasher and ran it. They swept and mopped the floors and then sat down, and awaited her arrival.

Two hours later she returned from the meeting, took off her coat, hung it up, walked through the kitchen into the den, grabbed the remote control, and began watching television. They followed her over to her chair and stood by her side. Finally she felt them looking over her shoulder and looked up at them and said, “What?”

Her husband said, “The kitchen.”

“The kitchen. What?”

“The kitchen. We cleaned up the kitchen. Didn’t you notice? It’s sparkling clean. We cleaned it for you.”

The woman replied, “Yes, I noticed. Thankless job, isn’t it?”

It is so true that a lot of what our wives and mothers do goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Please don’t let that happen in your home! But the same thing can happen at work or around the church. My guess is that there are many people around you who do important tasks but who go unnoticed and unappreciated.

For example, when is the last time you thanked one of your elders for the work that they do? These men have a very difficult job that involves a great deal of responsibility (and they likely don’t get paid a dime for their efforts). They spend countless hours leading, guiding, shepherding the flock. Take a moment to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts.

Most churches don’t give much thought to the teachers for their children’s Bible classes (except when they’re absent!). We just assume they’ll just show up and do their job, without considering the hours of preparation each week, not to mention their willingness to deal with a room full of active (and sometimes unruly) children week after week. Take a moment to let your children’s teachers know how much you appreciate them.

The list could go on and on because there are so many people around you who serve in so many ways, and many of them don’t want the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes. But, please don’t take the efforts of others for granted.  Keep your eyes open to the good work that others are doing and “Render therefore to all their due…honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:7). Thank you to all of you who serve in a variety of “thankless jobs.”

Alan Smith ministers with the Helen Street church of Christ in Fayetteville, North Carolina.