A Thankless Job

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.”—Galatians 6:6 (MSG)

I recently read an article titled, “Top 10 Thankless Jobs in the US.” It was an interesting read, listing careers that are often underpaid, overworked, disrespected, and unnoticed. Some of the careers listed were farmers, teachers, social workers, the military, sanitation workers, law enforcement, and paralegals. And while it’s not a paid job, I would add parenting to the very top of this list, especially as kids enter their teenage years.

The sad thing is that many of these thankless jobs, including parenting, are among the most essential roles that help our society function. And considering the importance, the pressure, and often profound heaviness of these roles, expressing gratitude is of the utmost importance. This applies to the roles of discipleship and ministry, too!

That’s why Paul instructs believers “who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity,” to “enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.” 

In context, this was also a call to first century believers to ensure ministry workers, missionaries, and teachers who devote so much of their time and efforts into the work of ministry are provided for and taken care of so as to not have to worry about their own livelihood or providing for their families. This way, they’d have more time to devote to ministry. And while this is still super important, and something that is done through giving and tithing to your home church, I’d like to apply this to our discipleship relationships in a slightly different sense.

Often, we consider a person who disciples us to be like a spiritual parent. They teach us, guide us, and keep us accountable; they experience the growing pains with us, and pour so much time and energy into us, just like a parent is supposed to do. And just like a biological parent should be shown appreciation and respect and should be able to share in the fruit of their labor of love, those who disciple us should, too!

Thus, if we’re looking at this passage in context of these relationships, Paul is reminding us to care for, do life with, and invest back into the ones who have helped us develop into mature disciples. Make sure to share with them what the Lord has done in you through them and their investment, check in with them often, be there for them, and express your appreciation, admiration, and love for them. When you’re in that position, knowing the impact the Lord is having through you will be so important. 

DIG: Why is it important to share all good things with those who have helped us get to where we are today? 

DISCOVER: When was the last time you expressed appreciation and shared “all the good things that you have and experience”? Does your mentor/spiritual parent know the impact they’ve had on you? Do they know the impact you’re having today because of their investment?

DO: Visit, call, text, or e-mail someone who has made an impact on your life spiritually. Express appreciation and share what the Lord is doing in your life today, and how what they invested in you has shaped your walk. 

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.