Menu Close


Dear COA Family,

Receiving recognition and praise from others for our hard work always makes us feel good. I have not met anyone who does not want to be appreciated for something he or she has done legitimately. That is why I have always made it a point to recognise and thank members for serving in ministry.

Yet what if we don’t feel we receive the appreciation due to us? How will we respond in such a situation?

Just take this past week’s Teacher’s Day celebrations for example. It is a day where students and schools all over Singapore recognise and appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of teachers for their dedication in educating the young. This is right to do because teachers ought to be thanked and students need to learn to show gratitude.

I am so glad that in all of our Chaplaincy schools, the teachers and staff were all appreciated not only by the students but also by our church with separate lunches. The Ascension Kindergarten and Little Seeds Preschool (Ascension) staff had theirs on 26 Aug (Sat) while St Andrew’s Junior School had theirs on 30 Aug (Wed). They were all wonderful and blessed times.

Yet what if Teacher’s Day did not take place and teachers were not appreciated? Would that affect the work of teachers?

Theoretically, it should not because teachers are ultimately paid by the Ministry of Education to teach. They should teach whether or not they are appreciated.

It is the same for us in our service and ministry to God too. We are ultimately saved by Christ to serve, and it should not matter whether we are appreciated or not in order to continue serving.

Jesus referred to the importance of this attitude in his parable about the unworthy servant:
Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep… Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (Luke 17:7-10).

In other words, just as the master will not thank the servant for doing his duty, we should not expect recognition and praise for doing what we are supposed to do.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that we should stop appreciating and thanking one another. Far from it. We should instead always have a heart of thanksgiving and not be grudging in our praise. This is how we grow in love.

Yet we ought not to swing to the other extreme of expecting praise for all the work that we do.

And if we do not receive that, we become bitter towards others and threaten to quit. If we behave in this way, the recognition of man becomes more important to us than the command and approval of the Father. Man becomes our masters instead of God. The praise of man thus becomes our idols.

Let me share with you a secret. We will all receive a reward for our work for God. If we receive the recognition from others here on earth, then we will have fully received our reward. Yet if we are overlooked by others, then God himself will reward us in heaven. Which would you prefer – the praise of human beings or the reward from the Lord our God? I know which one I prefer!

God bless,
Revd Ian