This is a guest post by my 17-year-old son, Gabe Henderson. He's in 11th grade and wrote this article for a school assignment. His interests include skiing and golf, and he runs a Minecraft server in his spare time.
Have you ever wanted to do something big, but all you get are little jobs? Frustration is understandable. We love doing the big things because we get more recognition that way. And of course, we love recognition, so the big, important things are typically what we strive to do.
If you find yourself suffering from a lack of recognition, then you should meet David.
The Israelites had a major problem: a group called the Philistines who lived nearby. They were a cruel, barbaric faction that seemed to enjoy attacking them. Eventually, King Saul of Israel took his army out to fight the Philistines, but the Philistines had a secret weapon — a giant man named Goliath. Goliath fought the terrified Israelites single-handedly.
King Saul himself was scared, but who wouldn’t be? Goliath was so terrifying that he could only be described as monstrous. The reward for killing the giant was great. So great in fact, that anyone would be after it, right? Wrong. Everyone in Saul’s army was afraid after watching many others be defeated by the giant. It wasn’t just Goliath’s monstrous strength, but his stature. Goliath stood over nine feet tall, and he wore the best armor that the Philistines could offer. No Israelite had enough confidence to volunteer…until David came along.
David was not a soldier. He just took care sheep, all day, every day. As a shepherd, he spent his days out in fields protecting his sheep from harm and from wild animals. While that may sound exciting, it wasn’t an everyday thing for sheep to be attacked. It was more likely that they would wander off, and he would have to retrieve them.
David’s brothers, however, were on the battlefront, where David thought they were fighting for the good of Israel. Unfortunately, the giant Goliath stopped all progress in that area. This was unknown to David’s father, who instructed him to take some food rations out to his brothers. Upon arrival, David heard the shouts of Goliath. Of course, the shouts were not very friendly. They were mostly taunts toward Israel, mocking everything from their manhood to God himself.
David was outraged. It was because of his lowly job of shepherding that David had the confidence to say, “I will stop this giant. My God and I will do it!” After all, several times in his career as a shepherd, David was protected by God from animals like lions or bears. This gave David the confidence that God would protect him.
That’s exactly what happened. David went to a stream, and found five, perfect stones. He took one of the stones, put it into his slingshot, and met Goliath on the battlefield. Goliath roared with scorn when he saw the puny David approaching. David took no notice of the taunts, and simply hurled his stone at the giant. A soft “plunk” was heard, and then Goliath was no longer boasting, but falling. Falling face forward into the dirt and showing no signs of getting back up. David had won.
What about you? Do you feel like God only wants you to do small things that nobody notices? It just may be that God is using these small jobs to prepare you for something great. 1 Corinthians 10 says “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” It worked for David, and it’s the best way for you to live your life, too.
This is huge, so let’s take just a moment to think about how it can impact you.
Feeling under appreciated has led many to leave their jobs, their marriages, and their friends.
It has even led some to lose their loyalty to their country.
Let’s go back in history. In 1775 one of George Washington’s aggressive military leaders led an attack on Quebec. It was during a driving snowstorm in the middle of December. While the Canadians proved stubborn and a surrender was not forthcoming, the leader’s valor was praised by Washington. During the attack this leader also took a musketball in his leg.
However, the leader’s colleagues had a different opinion, despite the fact that he was also a hero in earlier battles. His accomplishments were ignored, and to add insult to injury, he was criticized for overspending (after all, he was an American). By 1779 he was to be dismissed for misuse of funds. However, Washington insisted he stay.
You know the man I am talking about. It was being under appreciated that eventually led him to turn on the American armies.
Benedict Arnold, perhaps the most infamous traitor of all time, may have gone down in history with an entirely different ending had he been properly recognized.
That’s where you come in. None of us will probably ever get all the praise we feel like we deserve. But you cannot allow that to poison your soul and lead you to walk away from what is valuable to you.
On the other hand, think of others. Perhaps there is someone in your own life who is feeling under appreciated.
Never underestimate the power of appreciation.
Who can you show appreciation to today?