Why is it that we are either easy on ourselves, justifying our behavior, or hard on ourselves, judging ourselves harshly? In 1 Corinthians 4:3b-5 Paul writes that we need to be careful of our evaluations, because the only evaluation that really matters is the Lord’s. The mature servant of the Lord does not trust his own judgment any more than he trusts the judgment of others. Paul knew of no serious sin or deficiency in his own life and ministry; but he also knew his evaluation was limited by his finite understanding. He was neither proud of the fact that he knew of nothing wrong, nor was he worried that he might have overlooked some fault. According to verse 5, the only evaluation that mattered to Paul was the Lord’s. He says, “[the Lord] will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” Those two phrases refer to the things only God can see, the things hidden from the knowledge of other men, and even our own hearts. It is such a comfort to know that every believer will have praise on that day, for “there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, emphasis mine). All servants of the Lord will have some reward and some praise – Only God knows who will receive much and who will receive little. Our rewards will not be based on the size of our ministry, the apparent accomplishments of our lives, or the number of converts we have. God will sort out – based on the hidden things, based on motives – who receives much and who receives little. We serve the Lord, not because we are worthy, we serve the Lord because He is worthy! We serve out of gratitude for the fact that He has called us out of the multitudes and established a relationship with Him. Anything that we accomplish is because of Him, not because of our human abilities. Jesus said, “to whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48). As we are asked to serve the Lord, do not become proud in your abilities, but be grateful in God’s liberty. Also, do not be overwhelmed with your inability, be grateful that God sees your availability! Serve with gratitude, and integrity and the Lord will reward your service with joy.