"But I said, `I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God'" (Isaiah 49:4).
When Keats was dying he said, "I have written my name in water." He didn't realize at the time, nor would he have cared, that it was written in marble. This is true of many while they live; they have no idea of the influence and the beauty they will leave behind. During life their love and hopes were not reciprocated nor their mistakes vindicated, so they feel they have disappointed God and family and friends. Especially if they aimed high do they feel a crash.
Many of God's servants have despaired of their seeming inadequacies. Elijah mourned, "I am no better than my ancestors" (1 Kings 19:4); Moses lamented, "I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy" (Numbers 11:14); and David felt like giving up: "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul" (1 Samuel 27:1). And then there was Jesus, most certainly a failure, who was scorned by the multitudes and finally crucified.
But God sees all this in a very different light. Instead of comparing our work with that of others, let us refer it to His fair judgment. "My reward is with my God," not with men. It's impossible for us to estimate our life's work. Even the Messiah became disheartened: "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people" (Romans 10:21).
God judges by motive and mission. Many a noble effort slips by relatives and friends, but God sees and knows all. If we keep in mind that our Brother Jesus missed out on fame and fortune while on earth, then we can forget about reward. For His unceasing kindness Jesus was rewarded with the ultimate cruelty of being nailed to a cross, so we need not worry or complain about what we receive or don't receive on earth.