Posted in theology

“What have you done for me lately?”

By Elizabeth Prata

In 1986, Janet Jackson came out with a song,” What Have You Done For Me Lately?” The refrain was thee plaintive question the singer asks of her boyfriend/husband. She complains that she deserves more than he is giving, and he isn’t putting enough effort into what he does give, which is little.

As a twenty-something married woman, I’d hang with my young married friends and bemoan how our husbands weren’t doing enough, or be jealous when another wife’s husband gave a thoughtful gift or flowers.

I think the song lyric What Have You Done For Me Lately is a good metaphor for the selfishness I’d exhibited against my husband before I was saved. Perhaps it’s a good metaphor for most unsaved people’s outlook on relationships, ‘what have you done for me lately?’

I was saved in my early 40s, and I’m grateful now the Holy Spirit dwells in me. He has changed me from the creature I was to the new creation I am. I ask a different question now, “What have I done for Him lately?”

Turning 60 makes me ponder the weight of time. My formerly pagan petty jealousies and indignant desires expressed in ‘what have you done for me lately’ seems so small now in the face of eternal devotion and worship of Jesus. I think, have I served Him well? (He will tell me at the Bema Seat). Am I wasting hours, days when I could be serving His people and His kingdom? (Answer: yes). Am I working out my salvation with fear and trembling? (Philippians 2:12).

I think of how Spurgeon, Calvin, Edwards maximized their time, devoting every single minute of their days to Jesus. I am so weak, self-absorbed. But I am glad I can ask a different question now. I am glad I can ask for forgiveness and it will be granted fully.

What a difference in perspective. Our new creation-worldview is a gift. Seeing eternity for what it is to us (blessed joy, eternal rest), understanding our selfless service is a gift made out of gratitude to Jesus, who suffered, died, and rose again for us. He is my all in all. What have I done for Him lately?


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.