Who is it all for? Today I had a tough question for myself. Why do I do what I do? There are extremely difficult times that come up in life. Hurtful situations and people, massive life changes, and just general day-to-day activities that cause one to feel spiritually unfulfilled, and unappreciated. For example, as a spouse or parent you might feel that actions you do go unnoticed, and the appreciation doesn’t ever come. Maybe you work in a career where you constantly give your all, and people just don’t seem to care about how much you sacrifice.
For someone like me, it makes me feel bitter. Why doesn’t this person, this organization, this community see the good that I am putting forth?
That’s when I question myself. “Arthur, who are you doing this for? If you’re doing it for the community, if you’re doing it for the wife, if you’re doing it for the parents and the career, then you need to understand something important. You’ve got it all wrong. You’ll never feel fulfilled. You’ll never be happy. You’ll never feel appreciated enough. You’ll never be paid enough for what you’re putting in.”
But if you’re doing it for God, then that’s a different story.
The Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet (God’s peace and blessings upon him) and he said, “O Muhammad, live as you wish, for you will [eventually] die. Work as you wish, for you will be repaid accordingly. Love whomever you wish, for you will be separated [one day]. Know that the nobility of the believer is in prayer at night and his honor is in his independence of the people.”
This hadith gives me life because it puts everything in perspective again. It reminds me to drop all the attachments of life, family, friends, careers, and the like. It reminds me that everything is going to be gone eventually, and to focus on that which will never change, the one who will never leave me, God. The only one who will recognize fully what I do for His sake.
If I want recognition, I don’t seek it from people, I seek it from Him.
If I want wealth, I don’t gain it from people, I gain it from Him.
If I want happiness and appreciation, it won’t be from any of you, it’ll be from Him.
What I need to remind myself is that nothing I do is for the people… people come and go, but My lord and His promise is Eternal.
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