Help for When We Feel Unrecognized
By Dawn Tolbert
“But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished.”Matthew 17:12a
I like recognition. From the gold stars of elementary school to the praise from my dentist every six months, having someone notice my work feels good. It makes me sit a little taller, smile a little brighter. The problem comes if I do things to receive affirmation from others rather than to glorify God.
In today’s verse, Jesus was answering Peter, James, and John’s questions regarding what they’d heard from the teachers of the law. Jesus reminded them “Elijah” wasn’t recognized by the religious elite, either. Only Jesus wasn’t referring to the Old Testament prophet. He was talking about John the Baptist. John came humbly to point to the coming of Jesus, but his work wasn’t appreciated.
Worse, he lost his head.
Going unnoticed, even when serving the Lord, can sting.
Disappointment can sink into our soul and plant seeds of bitterness and resentment. When we feel those negative emotions arise, John the Baptist’s experience can encourage us. People might not understand why we do what we do, and that’s okay. Like the teachers of the law did with John, they might not see us as valuable. Verse 12 shows, even though the religious leaders didn’t recognize or appreciate John’s efforts, Jesus did.
He saw, He remembered, and He understood. He, too, was rejected and suffered. He endured all of that, to the point of death, willingly, for us.
When we feel discontentment falling into our heart, we must pull the weeds that threaten to spring up. God wants us to focus on pleasing Him, regardless if anyone notices. Be confident that Jesus sees, understands, and rewards our faithfulness when we seek His glory.
Dawn Tolbert is a contributor to Wholly Loved MinistriesDaily Devotional, a Christ-follower who writes to honor God, thank Him for His goodness, and encourage readers by sharing her faith journey. She works in higher education public relations and is writing her first novel and her first book-length Bible study. She has earned a B.A. in Communication Studies and English (Gardner-Webb College), a M.A. in Professional Writing (Kennesaw State University), and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership (Union University). She and her husband, Larry, live in Cedartown, Georgia, and serve actively in their church. Dawn blogs at dawntolbert.com.
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