Over the years I have known a great many servants of Christ who have labored faithfully without any fanfare or rewards from others. It was in the power of others to bless them, but the blessing never came. It was not until they died that tokens of appreciation were given. This shouldn’t be! Listen to this challenge from the pen of J. R. Miller:
“There is a great host of weary men and women, toiling on through life, toward the grave–who most sorely need, just now, the cheering words and helpful ministries which we can give.
You are gathering incense of affection to scatter about their coffins; but why should it not be scattered in the hard paths on which their feet today are treading?
The kind words are lying in men’s hearts unexpressed, trembling on their tongues unvoiced–which will be spoken by and by, when these weary ones are sleeping in their graves. But why should they not be spoken now, when they are needed so much, and when the kind words would give such cheer and hope?
The flowers are growing to strew on their graves; but why not cut them now to brighten their dreary lives and dark paths.
Many a godly man goes plodding through life, living obscurely–yet living a true Christian life, doing many a quiet kindness to his neighbors and friends–yet seldom hearing a word of appreciation or praise. The vases, filled with the incense of affection, are kept sealed. The flowers are not cut from the stems. One day you stand by his coffin, and there are enough kind things said to have brightened every hour of his life–if only they had been said at the right time. There are enough flowers piled upon his casket, to have kept his chamber filled with fragrance all through his years–if only they had been sent day by day. How his heavy heart would have thanked God, if, in the midst of his toils, burdens, and struggles–he could have heard a few of the words of affection and appreciation which are now wasted on ears that hear them not! How much happier he would have been in his weary days–if he had known how many kind friends he had!
But, poor man! he had to die before the appreciation could express itself. Then he could not hear the gentle words spoken over his cold lifeless body. The love blossomed out too late!”