Sadly, I never give a spiritual answer to that question. I don't respond, "I fear that those I love will never come to know the joy of God's salvation."
No, instead I reply, "I fear being under-appreciated."
I hate the shallowness of my fear and ... the underlying sin behind it. This is my struggle ... this is my sin.
In the past I have given so much of myself for the good of a cause or person only to be crushed by lack of appreciation. My efforts were ignored or taken for granted. And I often sinned in my response by reacting in anger or resentment.
Is it good to encourage? Is it good to appreciate others?
Emphatically, yes! We are commanded to encourage others.
But is Christ being glorified when I hold on to bitterness by not getting my due recognition?
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.I have noticed that when I harbor bitterness, it quickly turns to anger and then slander. What a grief I must be to the Holy Spirit!
As Christians we should never drive others to bitterness, especially our fellow brothers and sisters, by neglecting to acknowledge their kindness and hard work for the kingdom of God. So often we need that affirmation that what we are doing is worthwhile and good. But when we do not receive that pat on the back of recognition, is it enough to know that what we accomplished was for Christ and His glory ... not for the praise of man?
Was our motivation to receive glory or to give glory?
Remember, you are not responsible for the actions of others ... but you are responsible for how you respond to them.
update: I just remembered Mike's post last year about encouragement.
*This is still a present struggle in my life.