Culture

Are you content to be nameless?

by Gabriel Ong // April 2, 2018, 2:17 pm

Content to be nameless

Do you do thankless or nameless work?

That’s work that’s behind the scenes — like in the back-end of the office or the engine-room. It’s tedious work, and there’s a fair chance no one will ever credit you for it.

That’s my sort of work for this season, and it’s challenging at times. But God is teaching me to be content to be nameless.

I make efforts to be teachable and humble, but the honest truth is that I can still be very proud. I take a Kingdom mindset on the work that I do, but there’s still always a small part of me that’s striving for self-glory.

God, help me stop caring about the credit!

The nice thing about doing anything “front-end” is that you have your name plastered over it.

It’s something like being a car salesman, your pitch is good enough to make a sale — you get the plaudits. In a sense.

But the editing work I do is different. Simply put, there are times when I’m tempted to feel as if I’m the grimy mechanic in the back of the dealership. Every day, all sorts of cars roll into the garage, and it’s my job is to take a closer look at it to see what I can do.

Usually in a few hours’ time, the car is fixed — it runs! But everyone sees the salesman as the person who got the car out there, not the mechanic. That tends to be the point where my carnal nature rears its head. But it was me — I got that beauty you now see up and running!

It’s never easy for the workers doing thankless tasks.

There’s a far greater reward when we serve God in secret than when we strive for worldly credit.

But a man with a Kingdom mind doesn’t strive and crave for the plaudits of man, saying, “Look at me, look at me!” A heart truly set on serving the Kingdom is one that is desperate for people to see God in the work!

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-7)

There’s a far greater reward when we serve God in secret than when we strive for worldly credit. How much more effective would I be in ministry if I stopped drawing attention to myself, and started drawing attention to God in every single thing?

God sees. He sees all the work that you do. And He also sees the heart behind the work, which is a very sobering thought. When God’s eyes fall upon you, will He see sacrifice or selfish ambition?

My portion is what God has assigned to me, and my job is to do it well. It’s as simple as that. What value is there from constantly comparing the work that you do, to the work someone else does?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Again, how much more effective would our Kingdom work be, if we competed or compared less — and collaborated more? Don’t compare!

The only time we should be scrutinising someone’s else’s work is to see if he or she needs our help. After all, we are serving the same King.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23)

Acclaim and accolades this side of eternity count for very little. That’s a lesson that’s slowly sinking into me, and I can’t wait for God to fuse it to my identity as His child.

If even the highest crowns are cast before the Throne in Heaven (Revelations 4:10), what credit on earth is even worth hoarding? I want to chase what is eternal — what will not fade away (Matthew 6:20).

My God, would you make my heart right before you. Establish the work of my hands (Psalm 90:17) for Your glory. Make me an obedient vessel, let Your will be done.

About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.