Everybody is so talented nowadays that the only people I care to honor as deserving real distinction are those who remain in obscurity. ~Thomas Hardy
Susan Lucci, of American soap opera fame, was nominated for a daytime Emmy award an astounding 19 times before she won. It had become a joke to many; it had to hurt for her.
If you are nominated nineteen times for something, at some point you have to imagine you are deserving of winning. Why is there always someone, or something, better than you?
Maybe you aren’t even nominated. Maybe you just work hard with no recognition.
You clean peanut butter off of the refrigerator door, wipe snot off a face, and wash urine-soaked bed sheets. No one says thanks.
You stay late to get the paychecks in the accounts on time, fix the printer that someone left jammed again, and send a bouquet of flowers to the secretary whose mother passed. No accolades are offered.
You burn the midnight oil scraping paint in the living room, spend weekends digging out wild weeds and bushes, and pay the neighbor boy to power wash the moldering wall. No one offers to help you put Dad’s house on the market.
It looks like a twentieth non-nomination is on the way. No one sees you. No one notices. No one cares.
In Luke 7, a local hero- most deserving according to the town leaders- needs some help. His friend and servant is sick.
He sends to the town elders to ask if they will go to Jesus on his behalf. He doesn’t feel worthy to go on his own merit. The men ask Jesus to do this favor for the centurion. He deserves it for his help around town.
The centurion finds out Jesus is on his way and he has a guilty conscience. He doesn’t believe he is worthy of Jesus’s attention. He sends messengers telling Jesus not to come.
The centurion’s humility results in the servant’s good health.
Luke tells us soon after this, Jesus goes to a little Podunk village called Nain where he sees a widow preparing to bury her only child. No one comes on her behalf. No one intercedes.
But Jesus goes.
He restores the son to his mother.
Whatever it is that you are doing, Jesus notices. When others say you’re deserving, and when you are alone in your grief, he’s there- healing, restoring, blessing.