See if this scenario feels normal for you. There is a right thing you could say or a kind act you could perform. But, as you evaluate the situation, you think about the person you would be kind to. You know their character. You know they will not actually appreciate it. You know they won’t really respond to you with the kindness your act deserves. So you decide that doing the good thing, the right thing, is not really worth it in the end.
If that is a familiar part of your life, consider Paul’s words to slaves in Ephesians 6.
Ephesians 6:5-8 – 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
Paul called the slaves living in the Roman Empire to serve well. He called them to work hard, and not merely when the master was watching. Paul called these folks to right behavior, even when it would not really make an ounce of difference in the life of the slave.
In verse 8, Paul tells us that we should serve and do rightly, even if it does not make an earthly difference, because, “whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord.” The apostle reminds us that we work hard and do right, not because it will make a difference here, but because the Lord will rightly reward those children of his who do right for the sake of the honor of the Lord.
Consider this the next time you know what is right, you know what needs to be said, you know how something ought to be done, but you are discouraged because you do not think your act will be appreciated. Do what is right, even if it will not make a difference on earth. The Lord sees. It is the Lord we serve. And so we will serve faithfully, we will do kindness, we will cling to Scriptural morality, we will obey the Lord, even if it does not make a difference, because the Lord will see, be honored, and reward his faithful followers.