Christians in God’s service intermittently require a fresh revelation of their significance to Him. This is particularly true when a believer is involved in an area of service where results and fruit are not immediately apparent. For example, intercession, caring for and shepherding the young, praying and laboring for change in longstanding negative situations. In these and similar fields, it is easy to come to the conclusion that what we are doing for God is not making a difference. But the truth is, if the Lord placed us where we are and assigned us the burden we’re carrying, we are making a significant difference. No one may see the extent of what we do and no one may commend us for it, but the fact remains that if we weren’t doing the job we’re doing in the way we’re doing it, the person(s) or place that we’re serving would suffer.
This fact cannot be proven immediately because we are faithfully doing our work and cannot envisage the effects of our absence. For this reason, it is important to ask the Lord to give us inward assurance of our significance. We need such assurances to keep us motivated, but we can only get them from the Lord because He alone knows the full extent of the impact we are making.
People can and should encourage us; however, the encouragement of others will not completely fulfill our need for significance. This is because people do not see, know, or perceive all that we put into serving God. It is only the Lord who sees all that we give, the sacrifices we make, and the love with which we give what we give in His service. He is the only One who can fully assure us of our value.
Needing encouragement is not a sin. But it is important to recognize that it is only the Lord who can provide the sort of encouragement that truly fulfills us. His encouragement is rich and filling; all other forms of encouragement pale in comparison.
This is not to say that the Lord will not use people to encourage us. He will and when He does, such encouragement will be rich and satisfying. Likewise He will frequently prompt us to encourage others. When He does, we should respond swiftly and be careful not to water down the rich blessing His Spirit inspires us to give.
Meditate on this: Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me — Matthew 25:37-40 (Amplified Bible).