I boiled a pot of water yesterday, and then realized I didn't need it after all for cooking. What a waste. I sighed as I let it cool on the stove.
Doesn't it seem like life is like that pot of water? You try to do something good, and no one notices that you've done it -- or worse, there's a negative consequence! One of my favorite sayings is *No good deed goes unpunished.* :-) It's discouraging, and you may wonder why you bother when it won't make a difference.
And yet... As I finished preparing dinner, I started thinking about that pot of water. Once it had cooled, the water looked just the same in the pot as before it had boiled, but it was now sterile -- in a mysterious and invisible way, that water was now *superior* to unboiled water. Similarly I believe that those secret sacrifices we make may make more of a difference than we realize. Those sacrifices honor God, if nothing else, and may even be seen by that *great cloud of witnesses* (Hebrews 12:1-2).
I believe that everything we do for right motives, no matter how insignificant or seemingly without result, is accepted -- no effort is ever wasted. Those secret scars of the heart, that no one sees, that bleed without ceasing -- they are all observed and counted.
I was reminded of the line *they also serve who only stand and wait,* and looked this up on google. This line comes from John Milton's poem "On His Blindness," and seems fitting for this discussion. We serve God, not because God needs to be served, but because He is worthy, and we take pleasure in acknowledging this.
On His Blindness
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.
John Milton (1608–1674)
16 hours ago