Am I serving God or people?


Its frustrating to plant the seed and never see the harvest

By Sybil Kolbert

In the early morning, when the sun has not come up and my house is quiet, I spend time with God. Time reading his Word and the words of authors who have poured out themselves to be his instrument.

Recently, I read this in Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: "When service is unto people, the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep."

Oh, how frustrating it is to serve people who don't appreciate what you do. Who don't say thank you. Who don't appear to see what you do. I've heard it many times in the church and in my own family: “I stopped inviting people over to my house because I got tired of never being invited. No one appreciates what I do, so why do it at all.”

But we are not really serving people, are we? We are serving God.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). This concept of serving God and not man struck me one morning during my quiet time. Maybe this is where some of my frustration with blogging, church ministry or using my gift of encouragement has come from. This thought that I am serving others. Sure, others may benefit from what I do. But in reality, it is not for them. It is for God and his glory.

I don't want to have to worry about who is reading my blog or how many people respond to my texts or when someone will invite me over for dinner. I don't want to focus on the people. I want to focus on Jesus and how my work can glorify him.

Mother Teresa said, "The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action. If we pray the work … if we do it to Jesus … if we do it for Jesus … if we do it with Jesus … that's what makes us content."

But there is that struggle. That pull toward my humanness that wants something in return. That wants to be encouraged, invited in and to know that I have made that heart connection. How can I know that I am reaching people for Jesus—that my words and actions are encouraging others—if they don't tell me or do things for me?

God has repeatedly said to me, “Be still and know. You are doing my work.”

If I am doing the work that God has called me to, then I can know. He is making a way for me into the hearts of others.

Jesus says, “You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest’” (John 4:37-38, NLT).

The analogy of the harvest is used many times in the Bible. In this passage, John suggests that there are times when we are the planters of the seed and not the harvesters. That is OK. I don't have to know what my seed has produced—just that God will use it, in his way, in his time.

It is God that we serve. And he has already given us the greatest gifts. Love. Mercy. Grace. Jesus. It is because of these that I can serve, knowing that his approval is enough.

Sybil Kolbert is a school psychologist and uses her blog, "Peace it all Together," to reflect on life, faith and issues related to having a child with sensory needs. Visit her at


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