Be encouraged, What you do does matter
Theme: We believe the lie: “What I’m doing doesn’t MATTER. I’m making no visible DIFFERENCE” (Isa 49:3-4; Heb. 6:10; 11:13, 27, 39).
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church, Sunday, May 29, 2022
Today is Memorial Day:
Memorial Day was established after the Civil War. All these men served in the War Between the States. All these families sacrificed as the husband was gone, the father was gone. Families were torn apart. What was it like for the soldier?
For some, it has little meaning other than a day off and the Indianapolis 500. Yet, the origin of the day began with remembering the dead in the War of Northern Aggression-—the women of Pennsylvania who decorated Union graves in August of 1864, the women of Virginia who decorated Confederate graves in April of 1865, and the women of Columbus, MS who decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate dead-—prompting Horace Greeley’s editorial and the subsequent events which called for national observance of such memorials. This day reminds us of all our war dead, hence that freedom has a cost.
I am very grateful to all of our military men and women who sacrificed for our country. I am grateful to all the military who paid the highest price.
Tony Evans helps remind us of sacrifice:
During difficult days of war, regardless of one’s particular persuasion, everyone owes a mighty debt of gratitude to the men and women of the armed forces of the United States of America who serve, and who risk their lives for freedom. Many people not long ago were touched by the story of a football player named Pat Tillman who walked away from 3.9 million dollars offered to him to play in the NFL. He walked away from a lucrative career because he felt he had an obligation to serve. That choice cost him his life. Our service to God is one that will cost much, even our lives, but we should be willing to fulfill our obligation to serve Him.823
I wonder if the soldiers who died for our country ever felt like what they were doing did not matter?
Do you ever feel like what you are doing does not matter?
Today, for just a few minutes I wish to impress on you that what you do DOES matter.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
and my recompense with my God.”
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
- What you do does matter to the most important ONE.
- Sometimes we forget the sacrifices of our military men and women. But God never forgets what you do.
- Sometimes we forget the sacrifices that others make on our behalf, but God does not forget.
- Look at the passage in Isaiah 49:3-4:
- God is speaking to Israel about the suffering Servant, who will be Jesus.
- The servant confesses his sense of failure due to Israel’s poor response (cf. v. 7; 53:1). The servant does not turn from God in cynical unbelief; he accepts emotional suffering and frustrating toil with confidence that God will reward him.
- The servant of the Lord still trusts the Lord even though He feels like He is not making a difference.
- That was written 700 years before Jesus and then Jesus would fulfill this passage and obviously, His death and resurrection made a difference.
- The Hebrews 6:10 passage is emphasizing that God remembers what you do.
- This means that when you serve your children this will be remembered for all eternity.
- I have seen and heard the saddest of stories of the disrespect of children and grandchildren. I know that I for sure had my days being disrespectful to my parents, but I am really talking about neglect.
- Sometimes as we labor day after day we feel like our service is not making a difference.
- God remembers you.
- God remembers everything you have done and it matters.
- You may think those tireless nights don’t really matter, but they do. God remembers. God does not forget.
- Mothers care about their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. No one cares like a mother. God remembers. God does not forget, what you do matters.
- Fathers also labor day after day for their children, what you do matters.
- Grandparents labor in prayer and in service to help their grandchildren. God remembers.
- Many of you labor serving the church, thank you, what you do does matter and God remembers.
- Maybe you are a caregiver, God remembers.
- God will not forget the good you do.
- Look with me at Hebrews 6:10: For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
- Isn’t that powerful?
- God will not forget the good you do.
- This passage says that it would be unjust for God to forget.
- So, if you are serving the Lord and the enemy is telling you it doesn’t matter remember James 4:4-8: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
- Submit to God, rebuke the devil.
- Certainly, sometimes it is our own nature telling us we are not making a difference. That is not true. What we do matters.
- Rain drops become puddles, puddles become streams, streams become rivers, rivers become oceans and that is the way the good things we do pile on to the good things that others do. That makes a difference.
- God remembers the good you do.
- For the parents and the grandparents:
Do you ever feel like what you do doesn’t matter? God remembers.
Remember the sleepless nights? God does.
Remember changing diapers? God does.
Remember midnight feedings? God does.
Remember doctor’s appointments? God does.
Remember working hard at home and at work to pay the bills for your children? God does.
Remember rocking him or her to sleep when you just wanted to go to sleep? God does.
Remember the good times and the hard times? God does.
Remember driving them to practice, orchestra, ballet, dance, work, school and still having a dozen other things to do? God does.
Remember crying over poor decisions your teenager was making? God does. He remembers what you do and it matters.
Remember anxiety, your worry, your prayers? God does.
Remember parent teacher conferences? God does.
Remember weighing the decisions about discipline? God does.
Remember buckling them into the car, making meals, washing clothes, choosing preschools? God does.
For some of you remember going through all of this over again for your grandchildren? God does.
- For the employees: when you have integrity God notices.
- When you work hard showing up on time, doing the job the right way, God remembers. When you are passed for promotion, even though you deserve it, God notices. God does not forget the good we are doing.
- When you give your best to God, your best at work, your best at home, your best in the community, God notices, He remembers.
- There is a saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” That may or may not be true in this world, but it is NOT true in Heaven. God remembers the good that you do.
God remembers. What you do matters.
You are making more of a difference here than you know and God remembers what you are doing as well.
A man was out with his wife and they got caught in a terrible hailstorm. This was a massive hailstorm. The hail was as large as baseballs. Under the deluge coming against them, the man realized that if he didn’t do something, his wife would be severely hurt. He quickly draped himself over his wife, covering her with his own body so that instead of the storm hitting his wife, it hit him.
The hailstones seemed to get bigger as the man bent over his wife, protecting her. The large balls came down harder onto the man. They hurt him badly. After a couple of minutes, his ears started bleeding along with some spots on his head. The man tried to lead his wife to safety, but the stones were coming out faster and harder. The pounding stones took their toll. Weakened by the onslaught, the man finally collapsed over his wife, only able to shield her from the danger.
After the storm was over, the man was left with scars from where the balls had battered away at him. The remnants of sores, cuts, and abrasions would forever be reminders to him of the day he saved his wife.
This is a true story. On the local newscast, the man’s wife was asked how she felt about their experience. She said, “Every time I look at that scar, on his head, on his neck, and on his ear, I love him more. Every time I see the scar, I love him more, because he sacrificed himself, for me.”
When you and I get to heaven, Jesus will be the only person in eternity with scars. He will have holes in His hands, holes in His feet, and a hole in His side. He will be your eternal reminder that the only reason you are there is because He stood in between the wrath of God and judgment headed your way. He covered you with His love and allowed none of the hail to damage you. He was disfigured for you. This is the love of Christ.778
 Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 276.
 Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 257–258.