Serving Others Can Be a Thankless Job

The beauty of living near an Army post is you get to meet and show your appreciation for those who take up the cause of Freedom. The ugliness of living near an Army post is you lose those friends either by them giving the ultimate sacrifice, getting out of the Army, or moving to a new post.

With that being said, we had some amazing neighbors move out and recently that apartment was filled with new neighbors; neighbors we have not met yet.

Two weeks ago, we experienced a snow/ice storm that practically shut down the city. Yes, I live in Tennessee. Typically, just the threat of a snow storm shuts down the city, but this storm was legit. No one could get out of their driveways. Businesses shut down. Places of industry closed doors. It was a day off for the city.

Some did not heed warning and just had to test the elements to get out and to the few stores that did open for the necessities of life; bread and milk (beer, cigarettes, chocolate, and toilet paper).

Our neighbor who has a baby needed to get to the store for some items.  I sat watching out the window in my PJs drinking my coffee and I laughed under breath at her spinning wheels in her driveway. It was entertainment for me. Carrie asked me if I should go help. After a moment of giving it a mull over, I decided what better way to introduce myself as their neighbor than through an act of kindness. (Come to think of it, I think this has been the way I have met every neighbor of ours.)

I put my clothes on in hopes that she stayed stuck so I could help her. I walked out my door, and sure enough, she was still scratching her head and spinning her tires. I walked by her passenger side door and waved and told her to rock the car and I would give her a push. She began to give gas and literally two pushes she was out in the street. I handed her the scraper she left on the ground and asked her if she needed to go to the store. She said yes.

I waited for a thank you.

I waited for an introduction.

I waited for eye contact.

I waited for some kind of gesture.


I began to introduce myself and her roommate came out with her baby and she began to talk to her and so I moseyed back behind her car back to the house to get out of the cold. Put my PJs back on, grabbed my coffee and walked back to the window for more entertainment.

That didn’t actually turn out the way I expected. However, I could have really gotten mad at her. She practically ignored me and didn’t even show thankfulness.

I began to question my motives.

I wondered why I even did it in the first place.

Was it for reward? Was it for pride? Was it to boast in how good of a neighbor I am? Was it to show my manly skills to another woman? Was it because it simply was a good gesture? Was it because my wife recommended it?

I really began questioning my emotion of disappointment that I wasn’t thanked or really even acknowledged for my good deed.

In reality, I just like to help people. It really didn’t hurt all that much she didn’t say thank you because I know that God has told me to love others as myself. This was part of that loving others deal. Stepping out of the comfort of my own life and seeing the needs of another person, considering their needs above mine and doing what I can to make it happen.

Will it hurt if they don’t acknowledge your kindness. I believe so. But I don’t think that takes away from the fact that good deeds should be done to others in light of what God has done for us.

I’m saying I would do it again. Because helping those in need is a thread that God has woven deep within me. It can’t easily be cut out. It’s also not something that has been there for a while. God has crocheted this thread in recent years. This is how I know my relationship with Christ is good. Because I can see the change that He has made in me. Not that I want to help others but that I accept that desire to help others.

I have always wanted to help others but hated that part of me. Why should I go out of my way when others don’t.

Because Jesus did.

I accept that.

Therefore, I accept in my own life to see the needs of others. I accept the desire to fulfill those needs. Even when they are thankless.

Yes, it hurts when they don’t respond with gratuity. But who am I trying to please? Them or God? When I think about helping others, I know that Jesus said if I do for the least of any, it’s as if I am doing it for Him.

I accept this. He appreciates it and blesses accordingly.

I am not righteous because I do good deeds, I do good deeds because He has called me righteous. So because of Him, I will continue to serve others (even when it’s a thankless job).






About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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