Have you ever been unfairly accused or judged?
During my first year as a director, one of my social workers, Debra, approached me with her resignation, citing that her husband accepted a job in another state. The letter’s tone was brief and professional, but her tongue-lashing that followed was long and berating. She accused me of being prejudiced against her because she held only a bachelor’s degree rather than a Master’s. Her words stung like a leather whip slapped against my confidence.
For two weeks, I replayed old conversations and re-examined decisions I’d made for any hints of truth to Debra’s accusation of bias on my part. After all, as a social worker, I was trained to take a fair and balanced approach.
I’d based assignments on skill and potential, and I thought she demonstrated a lot. I assigned her as many complex situations as I gave her peers. The degree question never entered my mind. Her reviews reflected strong performance. So, I hurt when she left believing as she did — that I’d held her back professionally and considered her incapable of living up to expectations. She turned a deaf ear to any words from me stating the contrary.
Two years later, Debra called me. “Just to say hello,” she said and then added, “You were a tremendous director.” Stunned to silence, I listened as she told me about her current job and its challenges and how she realized the many opportunities I offered her to develop as a professional. She concluded with, “I just called to thank you for all you did for me.”
As I replaced the phone in its cradle, I dropped my head and said, “No, thank You, God.” Debra caught me on a day that drained me emotionally and left me questioning whether I was in the right job. I was weary of laboring at work but not seeing results. Debra’s call reminded me that, while I won’t always know my impact, there is always a result somewhere down the line. I may not see it in my lifetime, but God always uses our labors of love for His purposes. Whether my task is to plant seeds, or water and nurture seeds someone else planted, or harvest the fruit, my purpose is only to serve where His Spirit calls me.
Yet, every once in a while, like with Debra’s phone call, God gives me what I need to keep going—a nudge—a peek that I’m on the right track. Celebrate your work this Labor Day and forward this to someone who might also need encouragement in their service.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10, NIV)
©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.