Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Results of our Labor in the Lord

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.  –Psalm 128:1, 2 (KJV)

I know there are countless people in the world who love yard work.  While I enjoy working in the yard, my enjoyment fails to rise to the level of a woman I know who described yard work as her passion.  However, I do find fulfillment in mowing the lawn and weed trimming because the results of such work are immediate.  Often when I cut the grass around our house, I work until sunset, sometimes frantically hurrying to finish before nightfall.  When this happens, I have to wait until the next morning to appreciate what I have accomplished.  I think this is why most of us cut the grass and work in the garden in the first place; we get to see results right away.

What I just described does not apply the work of the ministry.  Serving Christ and seeing results in our efforts usually takes many years, sometimes decades, to see the fruits of our labors.  Growing in faith, wisdom, and the knowledge of God takes place over a lifetime.  This explains why followers of Christ sometimes become weary in the work and either drop out of church or fall away from the faith.  They become restless with their apparent lack of accomplishment.  This is true of church leadership.  Many a pastor has walked away from the pastorate partly because of the demands of the calling, but also because seeing results takes a long time.

I am experiencing God doing wonderful works in my personal life, my family, and my ministry, and for this, I greatly rejoice.  I also realize it has taken many years for these blessings to come to fruition.  Of course, the process is ongoing, for there is never a time when God’s servants can sit back and say, “Well, I have served the Lord long enough; I think I will stop serving Christ and sit back and relax.”  Sorry my friend, but serving Jesus Christ is a lifetime commitment lived out over the long haul of life.  As for my experience, what I am seeing taking place are blessings I have been praying for and working toward since God called me into the ministry 28 years ago.  While the church where I am pastor is not exactly busting down the walls with growth, we are seeing new people, young families, and persons professing faith in Christ.  Had I given up, I would not have seen these desires of my heart become reality. 

As I reflect back over the years, I clearly see the hand of God at work.  Many times I have become exhausted and discouraged, questioning whether I could continue.  I also wondered if I was making a difference.  Each time, the Lord has proven to be faithful.  He has a wonderful way of reminding us it is not about us, but about Christ.  It is not about our power, but Christ’s power in us.

I share this to encourage you in your walk with Christ.  Do not quit and do not give up.  Keep going forward in faith, for your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  As the Psalmist said, walk with the Lord in His ways, and you will see the fruit of your labors.  You will be happy, and it will go well with you.

God bless you today.