Has anyone given you a compliment lately? Any expressions of “Congratulations” or “Well done!” Have you heard from someone you love that you’re doing a good job?
I have a lot of hard-working friends. Closest to home, the main person is my wife, Cindi. Others are our co-workers here and around the world who are tirelessly doing the work of Derek Prince Ministries. Few of them get the recognition they deserve. Even fewer hear the words we all need to receive at some point in our lives: “Good job!”
In this letter, I want you to hear those words. When approval like this is lacking in our lives, it opens the door to discouragement—a sense that what we are doing doesn’t really matter. Nothing could be farther from the truth! It’s time to hear: Good job!
Not in Vain
A few months ago, Cindi and I had the privilege of visiting a wonderful friend whom we have known and loved for over 50 years. This faithful sister has literally touched the lives of thousands upon thousands of people for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Presently, due to the limitations and restrictions of aging, her active service has had to be curtailed. Cindi and I paid her a visit to express our appreciation—and the thanks of many others who have been touched by her remarkable life and ministry.
Toward the end of our tender time together, she became rather pensive, making the following remark: “I’m not certain what I have done has been of that much value.” Of course, we assured her to the opposite. I also felt prompted to reinforce our encouragement with a particularly uplifting verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58. These are the words I recited to her: “Therefore, my beloved sister, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
What did our precious friend need at that moment? She needed to hear: Good job!
You and I (along with every human being on earth) need to receive expressions of approval and appreciation. We need to know our work is not in vain. Otherwise, we can begin to wither up and bog down. Each of us longs to hear—from the Lord and from those around us—the Master’s words spoken in Matthew 25:23: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You and I need to know for certain our Lord is pleased with us!
One might think that Jesus, knowing He was the Son of God, was sure His Father was pleased with Him. It would seem likely He had complete confidence of this truth. Even so, the Father regularly confirmed this fact by announcing it to Him from heaven!
On one occasion (John12:30), Jesus made this observation about what the Father had said: “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.” Mainly, it was for the benefit of the crowds, affirming the validity of His ministry. At the Transfiguration, God said, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him” (Luke 9:35), and the disciples took note.
But in the account of the baptism in water of Jesus in Mark 1:11, it is clear that the Father wanted to make this realization very personal for Jesus Himself. “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Not “This, ”but “You.” We may not think that Jesus needed to receive such specific, personal validation. But He did—and so do we. You and I need to hear: Good job!
Your Value to God
Part of knowing that God is pleased with us is being aware of our value in His sight. Not only of our work; not only our calling; but our very person. In many of his messages, Derek shared encouraging words about how valuable you and I are in God’s estimation. Here is what he said in a great message called “The Cost of Redemption.”
“In the parable of the pearl of great price, I understand the merchant to be Jesus, and the pearl can be interpreted various ways.
I believe it is legitimate to interpret the pearl as every redeemed soul. It is important to understand that if there had only been one soul to be saved, Jesus would have paid the full price. This truth can really help you to have a sense of your own worth as a redeemed soul.
You are the pearl of great price. I think of the joy the merchant experienced when he bought that pearl. He didn’t complain about the price; he was just satisfied he got the pearl.
For a moment, picture that merchant there with the pearl in his hand. He is talking to it, saying, ‘Now you’re mine. You belong to me. You cost me a lot, but I don’t regret what I paid. You’re the most beautiful pearl I’ve ever seen. You’re altogether lovely. You’re altogether perfect.’
If you have a problem with self-worth, why don’t you take a moment to picture yourself in the hand of the Lord Jesus—the nail-pierced hand of the Lord. Now, say to yourself, ‘I’m that pearl. He died for me. He paid that price for me. If there had been no one else in all the world to be saved, He would still have paid the price for me.’”
Hearing It for Ourselves
It helps, doesn’t it? If you have ever wondered whether what you are doing makes any difference to the Lord or others, it helps to know your value. Do you need to know your labor is not in vain? If it was important for Jesus to hear He was pleasing to His Father, how much more for you and me? Right now, let’s ask God to speak to us.
Father, I confess that sometimes I wonder whether what I am doing has any real value. When those feelings hit me, I get tremendously discouraged— almost to the point of wanting to give up. Lord, please forgive me. I don’t want to give up. I believe You have called me for Your purposes, and I want to commit myself fully to serve You faithfully.
Even though I know I have responded to Your call, I need to hear Your voice. It is so important for me to be sure my labors are not in vain and that You are pleased with me. Would You confirm to me that what I am doing counts for something? I long to know that my work and obedience are of value.
Let me hear those lovely words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”—and experience the joy that will come to me as You say, “Good job!” Amen.
The Answer to Our Prayer
I have great confidence that you and I are going to receive an answer to the prayer we just offered. It may not necessarily come in the form of a voice out of heaven. But the Lord will get His message to us in some way. Perhaps we will hear it from someone we love and respect. Maybe it will be a clear inner sense of the Father saying, “Good job!”
As the song says, “You’re a good, good Father. That’s who You are.” God is a lot more inclined to provide His validation than many might believe. Here at DPM, we want to help you better understand His approval for you. One helpful way can be through Derek Prince’s solid teaching, beginning with “The Cost of Redemption,” the message from which we took Derek’s quote. It is yours for free upon your request.
How can we adequately express our gratitude for the prayers and contributions you provide for this ministry? In keeping with the theme of this letter, I want to extend our appreciation with one simple statement: “You’re doing a great job! Thank you.”
An Active Step
To be transparent, I must admit that expressing praise for others has not come easily for me. I have no one to blame but myself. Even so, I honestly didn’t have too many role models to learn from. My father was a wonderful dad, and I am blessed to have had a father like him. However, he wasn’t extremely generous with compliments.
Dad’s primary pursuit was to instill in me a work ethic that didn’t need to be stroked or complimented. In some ways, that is as it should be. You and I are doing our work for an audience of One, regardless of whether anyone notices or applauds. In a real sense, “a job well done is its own reward.” Even so, it helps to receive genuine approval.
First and foremost, we need to hear it from the Lord. But it’s great when it comes from others as well. Perhaps you and I need to prime the pump by regularly expressing praise to those closest to us—our spouses, our children, our friends, and our co-workers.
Why don’t we make that commitment as we conclude this letter? In the days ahead, let’s take active steps to say those much-needed words to the ones around us: Good job!