Craig Groeschel - When They Take You For Granted
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I wanna start the message with a story. I was very excited to meet someone who was a hero to me. And before meeting him, I was instructed that it's proper in this culture to bring a generous gift to show gratitude for what this person has accomplished. And I was completely down to do that. So I ask what does he like? And the person instructed me that he likes a certain type of pen, of writing pen, of which I looked up and it was above my normal gift giving budget. I don't know if you've ever priced expensive pens before, but mine cost five for a dollar and some of 'em are free, like the Life.Church free pen. Well, this one wasn't anywhere close to that. And I thought, I'm not gonna spend that much money on a pen. That's like I wouldn't spend that much money on Amy on our 50th wedding anniversary.
Well, I might, but not you know, for anything else at all. And so I wrestled with it and I'm telling you, if I told you like it was like weeks of agonizing, maybe I get him a cheaper off brand one and he won't notice, you know, maybe I get him something's different. And finally I just thought you know, he's made such a big difference in the world. Many of you would know who he is and you would agree. I thought all right, I'm gonna get him the stupid pen. So I forked over a ton of money. I hand wrapped it myself, I put it in a little bubble thing to fly there to see him. Walked up to him, had a short meeting in between the sessions, said "I'm so honored to meet you and I just wanted to honor you with this gift".
I gave it to him and he set it down. We talked for about five minutes later and he left me and he left the pen sitting right there on the table. Thank you both of you who said aw. I thought you would give a little more empathy than that. The next day I went back, the pen was still sitting there on the table and I was crushed. So I took the pen home, took it back, and got my money back. I didn't do that. Well, I might have. You can you can figure out if you think I did or not. Today I wanna talk to those of you who might feel unappreciated, undervalued, or occasionally even unseen. I wanna talk to those of you who give more and serve more and help more than anyone would likely know. And you're good hearted about it. You do it because you love people and you wanna bless them.
But let's be honest, even when you give with the purest motives, and even when you serve with the purest heart, every now and then, you still want someone else to notice. You want them to acknowledge, you want someone just to say thank you. And so if you've ever felt discouraged and think others take you for granted, Jesus has actually been there. The title of our message series, for the most part, whatever you've been through, whatever you're facing right now, Jesus has been there. And today we wanna talk about when you feel unappreciated. I'm gonna look in Luke's gospel, Luke Chapter 17, and we're gonna see a time when people didn't really value what Jesus did. Luke 17 scripture says this "As Jesus entered a village, 10 men," How many men? Let's make sure we're keeping count. Everybody say how many men. 10 men, type it in the comment section, 10 men. So I know you're with me.
"As Jesus entered a village, 10 men with leprosy stood at a distance crying out, Jesus, have mercy on us". They're crying out from a distance and asking him to help. Maybe you can relate. You might be the person that's single. And everybody says can you babysit for us or can you dog sit for us or can you plant sit for us? Yes, I said plant sit. It's actually a thing. How do you sit a plant? I do not know. But some people like their plants sat. Or you walk into your house and a whole house full of people saying "I'm hungry. Where's dinner"? Or it's 9:30 at night and you're ready to relax. And someone cries out I got homework, "Can you help"? And you're thinking, "What about me"? Nobody even asks about my day, speaking to the moms because I know that you don't do much to serve other people.
What do you do as a mom? You're just the provider and the cook and the housekeeper and the Uber driver and the counselor and the doctor. Do you want me to go on? And the life coach and the personal shopper, and the referee and the defense attorney and the judge, and sometimes even the executioner, if that's what's needed for the glory of God, right? And every now and then you want somebody to say "Hey, I notice. Thank you for picking me up for the 17th time". I've never seen my mom nod so much in a service. I've never seen her nod so much in a service. And the 10 lepers are crying out, "Hey Jesus, over here. We got leprosy. Have mercy on us". And scripture says this, "Jesus looked at them and said, I'll help you out. Go show yourselves to the priest". And I love this part. It says "As they went, they were cleansed".
If I had more time to preach another sermon, I would talk about as they went. Sometimes it's as you're doing what he told you to do, that he actually shows up and does what you want him to do. As they went, scripture says they were cleansed, supernaturally healed of their leprosy. And then how many of them would you say it aloud? One, type it in the comment section. How many of them, "One of them when he saw that he was healed came back to Jesus shouting, praise God," he said. "He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking Jesus for what he had done". This man was a Samaritan and Jesus, the son of God, who needed zero affirmation from people because he had the approval of God said, "Didn't I heal 10 men? Anybody see the other nine"? In the Greek, what that literally is saying is, I spent hours on this meal and you left your plate and didn't say thank you.
That's what it means in the Greek. Right. That's when you're driving in traffic and it's intense traffic. And by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit moves upon you and you let somebody else in and they don't even give you the head tilt down, the hand go up. It's in the Bible. Leviticus something. It's gotta be in there. I promise it's in there. And they drive off with a Life.Church bumper sticker. We know Jesus did not heal these lepers for selfish reasons, but even Jesus thought at least they could have come back and said thank you. I wanna show you three things to remember when you feel unseen. The first thing if you're taking notes is this, number one, I want you to remember that how they make you feel is not who you are. Second thing I hope you remember is this, that those you serve the most, often appreciate you the least. And the third thing is this, what's unseen by people is often what's most significant to God. Let's break 'em down one by one. Thought number one, how they make you feel is not who you are.
Now, intellectually we know this, don't we? But practically, we often tie their reaction to our identity. If they show gratitude, we feel satisfaction. If they ignore us, we feel less than. I saw this when I did the obligatory dad Disney vacation. We went there one time. Some of you love that place. Dear God, I did it one time and checked that off my box. And so my kids were young, we had six of them. And so like I had to be a good dad. So I went and booked the trip. And then for Christmas, I got this big box, big 'ol box, like almost a refrigeration size, like one of the biggest rookie dad mistakes of my entire dad career. Big 'ol box. Put a little Mickey Mouse in the big 'ol box, wrapped it up with a note that said We're going to Disney in six months. I only had one kid that could read.
For three weeks they're looking on there, what's in the box? What's in the box, what's in the box? And they opened up the box and they're like one of of them like, "It's just a stupid Mickey Mouse"? And then my oldest daughter read it to the others. "In six months we're going to Disney World". And all the other five of 'em started crying. They wanted something big in the box. And all they got was a stupid Mickey. A thousands of dollar thing with $9 million popcorn and Cokes and we're never going back there again. The rest of you keep 'em in business, but we're doing a staycation. So I mean, how they make you feel is not who you are. How they make you feel is not who you are. I'll give you two examples from scripture. And to me, this is just like fascinating. Two different examples in the same chapter of how people made Jesus feel. Watch this, you're not gonna believe it.
Luke chapter four, two different feelings in the exact same chapter. Luke four verse 15 says this, "Jesus was teaching in their synagogues". And what happened? What'd they do? Everybody praised him. You're amazing, Jesus. Wow, it's a good message. Say that again. I'm writing that down. Powerful, hmm. They're doing the cow, mm. Some of you do the cow. Mm. I say something good, you go mm. That's amazing Jesus, you're incredible. Wow, they praised him. J-E-S-U-S. I don't know what comes next, but they were praising him. And then in the same chapter, the very next verse says this. Next verse says this, same chapter, "'All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard him say 'Hey, you want me to do these miracles everywhere, but a prophet in his own town is without honor.'"
And he said that and they were furious with him and they got up and drove him out of the town and they took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built in order to throw him off the cliff. That's how you all are. That's how I feel. You're amazing. You suck. Verse 15, Jesus is incredible. Verse 28, he said one thing and he's canceled. We love you. We hate you. You're incredible. We're leaving your church. How they make you feel is not who you are. And I want to tell somebody here this very important principle. That someone's inability to see your worth, does not decrease your value. Why? Because your value isn't based on what others think of you, but by who God says you are. And if you are in Christ, who does God say you are?
Scripture says that our God knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb, that you've been chosen by him and set apart and called by God and forgiven by the grace of Jesus Christ. Your sins remembered no more and cast into the sea of forgetfulness. And you've been sealed by the Holy Spirit of God and adopted into his family where you stand as a joint heir seated in the heavenly places, born into the kingdom of God. Thank you for the golf clap because that's pretty dang incredible. Well you're the light of the world. I mean in a dark world, you're the light that shines. When you walk into a room, Hulk walks into a room, faith walks into a room. You're an overcomer scripture says. By the blood of the lamb and by the words of the testimony of what Jesus did for you. You're not who others say you are. How they react does not determine your worth. You are who God says you are. And he says you're chosen, you're righteous in Christ. You are an overcomer. Internalize it. How they make you feel is not a reflection of who you really are.
Second thought is so principle, it's so important. Those you serve the most often appreciate you the least. This is actually gonna minister to somebody. It's just a principle. It doesn't mean they don't love you, doesn't mean they don't notice. It just means they take you for granted. And I'm gonna show you the perfect example of this in the Old Testament. When the Pharaoh you may remember got angry at his cupbearer and threw his cupbearer in prison. And while the cupbearer was in prison, Joseph, who was a man of God who was wrongly imprisoned, interpreted a dream of the cupbearer. And three days later he said the Pharaoh was gonna restore you to your role.
And Joseph said this to him. He said "Hey cupbearer, please remember me and do me a solid. Do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh so that he might let me out of this place. For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews. And now here I am in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it. Hey, help me out". And what does the cupbearer do? Well, scripture says this. "Pharaoh's chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought". Joseph was the instrument that God used to get his friend, the cup-bearer released out of prison. And the cup-bearer never gave him another thought. Because those you serve the most, often appreciate you the least. And when you do something over and over again for people, they just start to take it for granted. I'll give you an example about Amy. And this isn't a reflection of her heart, it's just a reflection of human nature.
When we were dating, well always she loves flowers. Like people say what kind of flowers does she like? The flower kind. Well it's just flowers. She just loves them. And so I told her hey, one day when we're out of debt, I'm gonna give you flowers every week. And so years went by, we got out of debt. And so every Friday I send her flowers. The first Friday of flowers came like oh my gosh, amazing, la la la. Next Friday, oh my gosh, you're amazing, la la la. And the next Friday came, oh my gosh, you're amazing, la la la. Where's the la la la? After like eight weeks she'd say "Thank you", but the reactions kind of started to go down. And the reason is not because she wasn't grateful, just because it was normal. You see what's normal isn't celebrated. It's expected. And many of you right now, you're just doing what's normal.
So now I still give her flowers, but it's always at random times. I may even, don't listen to this. I may even strategically randomly plan them on my calendar like three weeks from now, remember to send flowers. I may do that. I don't know. I'm not saying, but I do it at random times because it's never expected. So she goes, because they're never expected. And then one of the things I often do is I do it in front of other women. I'll deliver them at a women's Bible study. Because points double when you give in front of women, I speaking of that, it is Mother's Day. This ought to be worth quadruple points to my best friend. Thank you. Oh, I might have planned that one for a couple of weeks. I might have planned that one for a couple of weeks. Because that wasn't normal. What's normal isn't celebrated. It's expected. In other words, listen to me, some of you right now are disappointed because they're not appreciate you. How do you know when you're good at something?
Think about this. How do you know when you're good at something? You're actually good at something when you stop getting compliments. Think about it. Like if you just always show up on time at work after seven years of showing up on time ain't nobody gonna say, "Wow, you're here on time". They don't do it because you're good at showing up on time. If you always make amazing meals, they're always amazing. No one's gonna say "Dang, that was amazing", because the last 14 were amazing and the next 23 are gonna be amazing too. That's actually in some weird sick, dysfunctional way kind of a compliment. If your house always looks good, your yard always looks good, nobody's gonna drive and go, "Whoa, can you believe it? You picked up the underwear today". They don't do it.
Same with sermons, just so you'll know, just so you'll know. You bring a rookie up here, oh, that's amazing. You do it for 32 years and nobody says a thing. Or if they do, they'll say, "Good reminder. Good reminder, pastor. Solid word". I'm gonna give you a good reminder. Don't you call this message a solid word, just say it 'cause I worked really hard on it. In some weird way, it's almost a compliment when they take you for granted because you're just trustworthy. You're just faithful. You're just dependable. I saw this with Amy. You talk about a hero. She home educated six kids. This was by choice. This was like not COVID have to. This was like by choice. Home educated six kids. And sometimes she just come in and she say, "They just have no idea what I'm doing for them and they didn't".
Well, now three of my daughters are married with kids and it's really, really fun because I like to see them come back and go, "Mom, mom, how'd you do it? You're amazing. How'd you do it"? And I just sit back and smiled. I wanna say to somebody, just because they don't notice now doesn't mean they won't notice later. Just because they don't notice now, doesn't mean they won't notice later. Let's talk about it. When you feel unappreciated, how they make you feel is not who you are. Those you serve the most actually often appreciate you the least. And the most important principle is this. What's unseen by people is often what's most significant to God.
What's unseen by people is often what's most significant to God. Unfortunately the world's culture is very opposite, isn't it? Because people celebrate what they see, but they don't celebrate what they don't see. They'll tell you congratulations on graduating 'cause they saw you walk across the stage. They'll say "Congratulations on your promotion" because they saw it on your social media feed. They'll say "Congratulations on your house" because they heard you bought a new house. But they won't congratulate you on strengthening your character, which is far more important than buying a house. They won't congratulate you when you overcome an addiction because they may not see that happening. They won't congratulate you, oh, praise God, the way you forgave that person was out of the park. Because we think what's seen is what's significant.
But I wanna remind you with God, what's invisible is often what's most valuable. It's not what everybody else sees that God values. In fact, I love it when Jesus was very, very direct in his teaching in Matthews gospel. Matthew chapter six, he said this, he said, "Be very careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them". In other words, when we're loving, when we're serving, when we're blessing people, it's really not for their recognition. It's really for God's glory. We're not doing what we're doing to be seen by others. He says, "If you're doing it to be seen by others, you'll have no reward from your father in heaven". Scripture goes on to say this. So when you give to the needy, don't announce it on your Instagram story. Did I read that wrong? I'm sorry.
So, so, so when you give to the needy, don't announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets to be honored by others. Then watch this. Then your father who does what, say aloud with me, "Then your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you". What does the father do? The Father, what the Father sees, the Father sees. The Father sees. The Father sees what you do. The Father sees the motives of your heart. The Father sees the sacrifices of your spirit. The Father knows the love that you have when you do things that no one else even notices, the Father sees. The Father sees. The Father sees what you do in secret. In fact, The Secret of the Treasure. And that means the God who sees, he's the Father who sees when you get up early and serve behind the scenes, getting everything ready for other people. They just think it's a normal part of what you do.
The Father sees when you do the right thing, when it would be so much easier to cut corners and compromise your integrity. The Father sees when you go behind and clean up after them again and again and again and again. And every now and then you just wanna say, "I'd love to see how you do without me for just one week". But you continue to serve and you continue to serve. The Father sees when you serve every week in church in the two year-old room at the 8:30 service, there are special rewards for you in heaven, greater than all others because the Father sees. The Father sees when you're working a second job because you want to keep your children in their activities. The Father sees when you are on your face crying out and begging him for provision, asking him to heal, asking him to restore a broken relationship, the Father sees when you forgive what others would say feels almost unforgivable.
The Father knows when you faithfully tithe, when you're worried that you may not have enough and then you give to someone in need when you know you don't have enough. The Father sees, the Father sees. If your spouse doesn't notice, if your boss doesn't seem to care, if your grandkids take you for granted, if no one else seems to notice, God sees. The Father sees. And scripture says this, I pray you'll internalize this, "That our heavenly Father God, he is not unjust". Somebody needs to hear this and internalize this in your soul. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you've helped His people. He will not forget. He sees it, He remembers it. He rewards the work and the love that you've shown Him as you've helped His people and continue to help Him.
And we want each of you to show the same diligence to the very end. Why? So that what you hope for may be fully realized. What you hope for may be given to you. That what you seek first in the kingdom of God, that He'll add, add everything else under you as you put Him first in all that you do, the Father sees, the Father sees the Father sees. The Father sees your sacrifices. Jesus healed 10 and only one came back. So what did Jesus do after that? If you read on, he said, "I'll show them I heal nobody else. I'm not gonna let 'em take me for granted". No, if you read on what he said was, he said, "Let me tell you by the kingdom of God", he said. "I'm gonna have to suffer and die and one day when you least expect it, I'm coming back for you again".
In other words, he didn't let the response from people deter him from his mission from God Because he wasn't doing what he was doing for the applause of people. He was doing it as a reflection of his love for God. And so that's what we do. On a side note, on a side note, it's a total side note, I just wanna say it, only one came back. Hey, why don't you be that one? Anytime you can. Why don't you be that one? If you think something good, say it. Anytime you see it, bless them.
When someone serves you, we as the people of God want to be the most faithful to show gratitude because every good thing comes from the Father. Why don't you be the one? That's a side point. Back to the main point is what we do is not for the response from people, but it's born out of an overflow of a response for what our Father did for us. And God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love that you've shown Him. You're showing Him love when you help and serve people and continue to help them. And he wants each of you to know that he sees and what you hope for will be fully realized, whether on earth or in heaven, when he rewards every good deeds of those who've been faithful to Him. The Father sees.
So God, today we pray that out of the purest heart, you would give us joy to serve others.
As you're reflecting today in prayer at all of our churches, I wonder how many of you would say that you, you often feel unnoticed, unappreciated, taken for granted? Would you lift up your hands right now all over the place? Lift them up. I'm gonna ask you again 'cause I, I think I must have been unclear, like maybe look, maybe like you guys are more amazing than me. Like I don't know about you, but I give a lot and know not a lot of people say thank you and I feel it sometimes. I wanna know, honestly, how many of you feel underappreciated at times? Lift up your hands, type in the comment section.
God, we want to acknowledge that right now. We want to acknowledge what the, the reality of what we feel. Sometimes we don't feel valued and we're confessing that to you God. And now we're reminding ourself that what they say, what they do does not reflect who we are. God, show us who we are. And God, in a weird way, if they don't say thank you, maybe it's just because it's a weird compliment that we're being faithful and we see that and we find joy in faithfulness. And God, now help us with the purest of heart to know that what is unseen and unnoticed is often what's most significant to you. God, may your children find joy in knowing that you see and you reward what's done for your glory. God, purify our hearts. Help us to step into the joy of serving you and serving people no matter how they respond. God, it's our joy to give. It's our joy to serve.
As you keep praying today, I want you to think about Jesus for a moment. Who is Jesus? He is the son of God. Jesus the son of God who is stripped of the glory of heaven and came to earth and was born in poverty. He never, ever sinned. He was faithful to God in every way. Why? He had one thing on his heart and that was you. He became the innocent and perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins. He was the lamb of God without spot or blemish. He died on a cross and God raised him from the grave, defeating death, Hell, sin and the grave so that anyone, including you who calls on the name of Jesus, your sins would be forgiven. The kingdom of God would take up residency in your heart. You'd be filled with the very same spirit that raised Christ from the dead. He did that for you.
And today, so many people like the nine lepers kind of give it an eye like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I prayed that prayer. I'm going on with life. Our only reasonable response to a gift like that is to give him our whole lives. Not an American version of lip service, cultural Christianity, but a full-on surrendered, Jesus be by Lord. Everything I do, I want to glorify you. I wanna ask you right now, wherever you're watching from, is that you? Is it? Have you returned to him to say, "I give you the greatest gift I have. You gave me your life. I give you my life". It's not just a prayer of salvation, it's a life of surrender. I want to be your disciple. My life exists for you. Wherever you're watching from, there are those of you who recognize I, that that's actually not me.
I'm gonna invite you today to respond in the only reasonable way. Scripture says, "We worship God by giving our lives". Wherever you're watching from, those who say, yeah, I'm not there. I need to be there. We're gonna step away from our old life. We're gonna step away from our sin. We're gonna surrender to Jesus. Not just a prayer, but a life surrender. He becomes our Lord. When he does, our sins are forgiven. We are made brand new. You're filled with the spirit and you become the child of God. The joint heir of the kingdom of God. An ambassador of the most high God, the light of this world.
Wherever you're watching from, you say, that's me. I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm ready. It's not just a prayer, it's a lifelong decision. I'm stepping away from my sin. I'm surrendering my life to Jesus. Jesus today, I give my life to you. That's your prayer. Lift your hands high now all over the place now lift them up and say, "Yes. That's my prayer". Say, praise God for you. And others of you say, "Yes, Jesus, I surrender", right over there. Others say, "Yes, Jesus. Take my life. Take my life". On live, type in the comment section. I'm surrendering my life to Jesus. I'm making Him the Lord of my life. Would you pray with those around you? Pray:
Heavenly Father, forgive all of my sins. Jesus, save me. Change me. Fill me with your spirit so I could serve you by serving people. Not to be seen, not to be noticed, but to love you. Thank you for new life. You have all of mine. In Jesus name, I pray.