Quick, name a reserve outfielder for the 1998 Yankees. Can’t do it? Try this one. Who was the backup catcher for the 2012 San Francisco Giants? Not sure? Amazingly, the ’98 Yankees, arguably the greatest team of the past 25-30 years, and the ’12 Giants, the most recent World Series winner, have obscure guys you and I don’t remember. Guys who sit at the end of the bench, rarely getting playing time and never getting glory. How would you handle that? Bear in mind that these guys are major league players, with incredible talent that most of us only dream of. And, still, they get no playing time, no recognition, no honors. They are overlooked, under-appreciated, and soon forgotten.
Many reading this right now feel the same way. You have so much to offer and yet no one notices. Not your coach, not your team, not your parents, not your boss, not your church, not anyone. You’re on the end of the bench. What do you do? You are overlooked, under-appreciated, and (you feel) forgotten.
Look at Proverbs 22:4–“A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver or gold” (NASB).
Read that again.
Do you believe that? Do you believe that what is most important is not how many people recognize your gifts and talents (and then reward you with playing time, conference speaking engagements, or larger responsibilities), but that what is most important is your integrity and reputation? Right now, which would you choose? Immediate rewards like those mentioned in the verse (silver, gold), or the long term value of “a good name”?
God’s choice for you is to preserve your integrity, reputation, and witness for Him, even if it means you receive fewer immediate rewards. The rewards we receive on earth are temporary, even the ones that we value so much. We won’t take them with us and they do nothing for us before God. He’s concerned about what no one sees, what no one may appreciate, what everyone might overlook. He’s concerned about your heart. And, doesn’t it make sense to concern ourselves most with the things that concern God most?
Here’s a prayer for those who relate:
Lord Jesus, I’m at the end of the bench. I feel overlooked, under-appreciated and forgotten. Please help me to be more concerned about what concerns you than my own desire for recognition and rewards. Build my integrity, reputation, and witness for you. Amen.
* Answer to questions: 1998 Yankees–Ricky Ledee, Tim Raines, Shane Spencer, Chad Curtis. 2012 Giants: Hector Sanchez.