“And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.”Esther 6:2-3
I recall my father-in-law getting quite embarrassed when he was recognized or the center of attention. He did not like the spotlight of praise, but although it is embarrassing, I can’t say that I hate it. We like to toot our own horn, and we sometimes downplay our achievements so that someone will toot that horn if it goes silent. We have our ways of manipulating praise out of people, and we often will pause for praise after we we’ve done something “great” like someone waiting for a tip after a delivery. My dog has the same reaction when he goes hungry, and he scratches at my leg so that I may notice his plight and acknowledge him. I struggle with wanting the praise of man, but Proverbs 27:2 states, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”
I got a card in the mail for my birthday from my boss, and I was shocked. I had never received a birthday card from my boss before, and enclosed was a gift card to one of the stores I like to shop at. I was excited to receive such a card, and I thought it would be nice for me to do the same for my own team. I was acknowledging their birthday through the company email, but I thought it would be special to send them a handwritten card with a gift card enclosed to one of their favorite restaurants or a shopping establishment. I was all excited to send out these birthday cards, and I anticipated that I would get some great feedback and thankfulness from my team. I sent out the first one as a birthday came, and a couple of weeks went by and all I heard was crickets. The fanfare I expected to received turned into stone-cold silence, and I thought maybe the USPS had lost my card or decided to open the envelope and enjoy themselves a tasty Whataburger.
I tried to forget about it, but the next time I had a one-on-one meeting with this employee, I casually asked her if she had received the card and she said, “Oh yea, thanks for sending that.” I sighed inside and under my breath uttered, “ingrate!”. I couldn’t believe she was not as excited as I was to receive such a card, and I questioned why she had not thanked me for being such a great boss. I have sent out several cards since then and most have said thank you, but there are still some who have not said anything. I questioned my own motives as to why I was really sending out the cards in the first place, and I realized seeking the praise of my team was maybe not the best motive for sending out the cards. I had a change of heart, and I decided I would send them because I wanted to show kindness and love to them. Christmas brought a new opportunity for me to correct things, so I decided to give it a try.
I sent out Christmas gifts to my team with an attitude of just being kind to them and not caring whether or not they said thank you or gave me praise. I sent out the gifts and again, some gave thanks and some did not. One employee who does not work in the office told me she would be stopping by just to get her gift and wanted to know if I would be there and have it ready. I was still grateful to give them something as the company gave me a budget to do so. I realized that it is not the praise of men that I should desire, but my heart needed to be in the right place and possess the right motive. I am learning to fight my flesh when it comes to wanting the praise of men, as it is God who will lift up and God who will put down. If God desires I be praised, He may allow a person to do it, but my motive should be that He gets the honor and glory for all things.
Queen Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, did not care that he did not receive praise or great accolades, but he did the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do. God knew the perfect time for him to be praised and it was this precise moment that Mordecai was recognized and honored for his deed. God’s timing is always perfect, and He allows praise when He sees it is fit for His honor and glory. Will you do things so that you may receive honor, or will you live your life pointing to Him so that He may receive all honor and glory? We will spend all eternity worshipping our God and praising Him for all that He has done. We are not worthy of any praise, even though He allows it from time to time. All that we are or ever could desire to be is because of Him. Will you allow another to praise you or will you try to wrangle praise from another? To God be the glory and may all praise be to Him. Amen!