Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Today’s Topic: It’s Not In Vain
Today’s Text: Isaiah 49:4 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.”
Some days work seems meaningless. There are times when it appears that no one is listening. Moments of doubt can turn into mountains of discouragement as investments deliver no return. Such is the mindset stamped with the signature of Satan.
I thoroughly enjoy being in my workshop. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do anything out there recently because of the heat. I really haven’t had anything to do out there either. But when I do, I love it. Whether it’s sharpening the blades on the lawn mower or repairing a small appliance or building something from wood, I love working with my hands. I think the reason is that I need something where I can see visible results. I need to see the product of my labor.
Many of you get to see that every day in your jobs. You go to work, fulfill your obligations, check things off the “to do” list, and at the end of the day you can see what was accomplished. It’s different for me. Sometimes it gets hard. There have been times in my life of ministry when I have absolutely related to Isaiah’s words – “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.” Fortunately this is not one of those times, but maybe it is for you.
Maybe this is a time in your life when it seems that you have no purpose. You may be in a profession that involves people rather than production, and the people for whom you labor are not responding. You work hard to accomplish something of value, but it seems that it has no affect on anyone. Nothing changes. Then add to that the lack of affirmation about what you are doing and suddenly the personal value tank is empty.
I have had times like that. That’s why hanging on my wall in my office, directly across from my desk and right next to the door where I see it all the time, is a plaque that hung on the wall of my parent’s home since I was a child. It is an open Bible with the following verse on it – Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord.(1 Corinthians 15:58)
Today I will print out the words of Isaiah 49:4 and hang them on the wall directly below that plaque. But not before I ask the Holy Spirit to stamp them as God’s signature on my heart and mind right alongside 1 Corinthians 15:58. I know there will be a time when I will wonder when I will ever see the fruit of my labor and I will need them.