Thursday, June 26, 2008

This week's Sabbath School lesson: Christ's Second Advent

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward" -- Matthew 10:42, NIV.
Doctors bury their mistakes.

Me? I bury my successes.

And no, this shouldn't bother me. Whenever I visit someone who is dying, after all, whatever comfort and peace I bring to that person should be its own reward. I'm not looking for recognition, in other words; I don't need a medal that says, "Voted #1 in Customer Satisfaction by the Terminally Ill."

Perish the thought!

But as a pastor in a retirement community, I spend a lot of time with people who aren't going to be here much longer -- and that means much of the most delicate, demanding, and emotionally-draining work I do here will have little to show for it except a headstone and an obituary.

I'm not alone in my anonymity, of course. The heroes who work in hospice face it all the time. So does anyone who works with the developmentally-disabled -- or even small children, for that matter. And nothing is more unfair than the soldier or civilian whose bravery goes unmarked because it wasn't noticed by anyone who survived.

That is why I take comfort from this week's lesson. It tells me that every kind word and generous act is cherished by the God who inspired them all. And far from being forgotten, He will see to it these things are honored for all eternity.

To be sure, God may be the only one who knows what we've done for Him.

But in the end, He's the only audience we need.

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