“Great job on the siding, Bob!” We stood in our neighbor’s driveway admiring his new vinyl exterior. A small crowd of friendly faces had wandered from summer yard work to enjoy an impromptu chat. This time of year, the conversation often centers on home improvement jobs.
“Hey, Joe, I saw you put up a new play set. How do the kids like it?”
“How big is that pool you installed in your yard, Dave?”
“Is that lumber in the garage for your deck expansion, Chuck? How’s that going?”
And I got to thinking of all the projects my husband does around the house—noticeable projects. The finished basement, the fresh stained fence. Brick landscape edging and a tidy cut lawn.
“My husband repaved the driveway, and all the neighbors commented on how nice it looked,” a friend told me recently. “How come nobody congratulates me for folding laundry?”
Amen, sister. Why doesn’t a woman’s work get the same kudos as her man’s?
Don’t get me wrong—I realize some of you ladies sweat over glorious flowerbeds or climb the roof to hammer shingles yourselves. Bravo if you do.
But for many of us moms, our usual household contributions are a little more obscure.
Nobody notices when I sweep the floor.
Nobody applauds when I mix oatmeal for breakfast.
Nobody drives by our house to admire my sidewalk chalk drawings or the rebate forms I filled out and stuck in the mailbox.
Just once, I want my kids to say, “Mom! You did a fantastic job grilling this cheese sandwich! You are one seriously talented woman.”
Why do I need praise? Does it give my labor greater significance? Does it prove I’m a good mom?
Well, let’s consider this picture in Matthew.
“Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River,” (Matthew 4:23–25, NLT).
Wow. Talk about a hot topic in the neighborhood. Jesus displayed supernatural healing powers and drew swarms of followers everywhere he went. If anybody had the right to boast, Jesus surely did.
But do you know what comes immediately after this passage?
“One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them. . . . ‘God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth,’” (Matthew 5:1–2, 5, NLT, emphasis mine).
Really? Jesus just performed a spectacle of public miracles, and then he delivered a lesson on humility. Not praise. Not power or validation.
What does that say about how we should approach our work?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving,” (Colossians 3:23–24).
Praise from people doesn’t make our work more important. Knowing who we’re working for does. And God doesn’t just pat us on the back—he promises a reward! An inheritance! Can a friendly neighbor’s compliments come anywhere near as cool as that?
So let those men have their repaved driveways and their shiny green lawns. The Lord sees our laundry. He sees our grocery shopping and our scrubbed bathroom floors. Next time you flip that grilled cheese, ladies, tune your ears to imagine this—the Lord of the universe is cheering you on.
My child! You did a fantastic job!
Thank you for serving me today by taking care of your family.
You are one seriously talented woman.
I know—because I made you that way.
Sarah Donegan says
Love this! It shouldn’t be frustrating to not be thanked, but it is to my little human mind. I need to always remember Jesus’ example and that I am trying to glorify Him.
Yes, it’s so easy to want those pats on the back. And I do think we should all encourage and affirm one another. But at the core, who am I working for? If I’m clear that whatever I do is to glorify God, then suddenly humility has a pretty spectacular place in my life. Thanks for reading, Sarah!