The Silent Unseen


“Built Strong to Last Long” was the slogan for Maytag appliances for 46 years. The highlight of their TV commercials for decades was the lonely Maytag repairman. His company’s products were supposed to be so dependable that he had nothing to do. According to the advertisement, “The Maytag Repairman is the loneliest guy in town!”

All the hype aside, a lot of positive things are connected with dependability, consistency, and unwavering commitment. Employees who are committed to doing their work—people who silently serve behind the scenes—believers who faithfully serve God by serving others—are the backbone of churches and the blessing of communities.

Most community service is a thankless task. Nobody gives much thought to the people who silently serve on committees that seek to improve our city—or on boards aimed at advancing our educational system—or to the police force that silently patrols our streets while we sleep—or those who work at improving our schools—or picking up our trash—or stocking our grocery shelves—or cleaning our buildings—or maintaining our utilities which enable us to live daily in comfort. Most often, we just take these things for granted.

A perfect illustration of this occurred at my house a few years ago. Our fourth child, Timothy, was still living at home while he attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello. His class schedule allowed him to be home during times he had not been previously. He silently watched his mom clean the house, wash clothes, mop, shop, vacuum, cook and dust. Finally, he asked if we were expecting company. Pat simply said “No” the first two times. The third time he asked the same question, Pat told him we were not expecting company but that she was just doing what she did every day. He acted shocked. Then, she asked him, “How do you think all this work gets done?” She kept house every day so we could have family time in the evenings and on weekends. Tim did not have a clue, nor did I, or most husbands and children. We all were guilty of taking her work for granted.

Many ministries in church are like that working housewife, or dependable Maytag! Uncounted people serve the Lord in silence, behind the scenes, unnoticed and unseen. Cary Marshall, is an audio/video volunteer at Pauline Baptist Church. For over three decades he has served the Lord with expertise and diligence. Once I thanked him for his service, and he told me, “When I do my best work, nobody knows it. But when I mess up, everybody knows what I do!”

Why not recognize and say thanks to those behind-the-scenes workers at your church? How long has it been since you publicly praised the janitors? When was the last time you thanked the sound guys? Have you said “thank you” lately to the chapel workers, the Sunday School teachers, the ushers, the choir or praise team, the camp sponsors, the greeters, the musicians, the cooks, the gardeners or the secretaries? Don’t let them think they are like a Maytag appliance—out of sight—out of mind! Find someone serving Christ in the shadows and thank him, for Jesus’ sake. But be ready, in case he faints dead away!

If you are serving in one of these overlooked ministries, and seem to be unappreciated, take heart! Thankfully, nothing escapes the attention of our great God. The Lord will reward all who honor and serve Him, even in the smallest of ways. Jesus said, “Whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). Think about that! Just a cup of cold water given for Jesus will not go unrewarded!

To be the best servant, be sure your aim is to honor God and not to receive personal glory or man’s praise. Jesus warned about this in Matthew 6 when He said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (verse 1). The Lord applied this principle to giving offerings, praying and fasting, when they are done for man’s approval, instead of for God’s glory (verses 1, 5, and 16).

So, keep up your good work and godly service, whether recognized or not. We are blessed to serve a God who is just in all His ways and doings, and who will always—without fail—honor those who honor Him. “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints” (Hebrews 6:10).

If you seek to honor God with your service from the heart—sometime in the future, God will honor you by revealing your selfless sacrifice, and you will receive praise. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to serve and wait—“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). NOTE: Those honored will “have praise of God!”

As you faithfully serve God unnoticed, below anyone’s radar, remember that the only One who counts will never forget your service! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Remember: SFSJ! Stay Faithful Serving Jesus! Even if nobody sees it!

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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