Week 35 “Labor in the Lord” Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Gen. 3:17-19 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Work became toil when mankind rebelled against God. The gospel reverses the effect of the curse in our lives, including the effects of our rebellion on our work. However, this reversal, is “already, not yet.” We experience some of the fruit of the “curse reversal” now, but the fullness of that experience will not occur in this life. What does that mean for our work? It means that as we walk with Jesus and as we embrace a theology of “faithful presence” in our homes and work places, we will experience in growing fashion a sense of calling and purpose in all aspects of our lives. This sense of calling doesn’t require that you “make a difference” at work. It doesn’t mean you have to start Bible studies or share the gospel at work in order for work to be significant. That utilitarian approach to life and ministry misses the mark on the larger purpose of life. Your purpose is not to “change the world” or “make a difference,” but rather to be found faithful. You exist for the glory of God. Of course, the person who is committed to being faithful and who has a growing passion for the glory of God will make a difference wherever they go, but that is a result of pursuing the larger goal of the glory of God. If you seek to do good work in your vocation, whether it is outside the home or not, you are positioned to bring glory to God. You may or may not “enjoy” your work, but you can find joy in your work if you will see it as part of a life of faithfulness. If we can learn to rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3), surely we can learn to rejoice in our vocations. Even if they do not always feel as satisfying as we would prefer. You may hope for a sense of purpose, impact, and meaning in your vocation and you may very well have it. But your final sense of purpose and meaning is grounded on your relationship with God and a theology of faithfulness. If you look for and find your purpose in your work, what will you do if you lose the ability to do that work? What will you do if you “out live” your vocation and are faced with years with no such work to give your life meaning? Whether you live or die, work at a job in which you find meaning or not, you live for the Lord. When you labor in him, nothing you do is ever in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). However, if you do not do what you do “in the Lord,” then all you do is in vain. “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1). It’s not wrong to enjoy or to want to enjoy what you do vocationally. However, it is important that you seek to find your joy in the Lord, no matter what you do vocationally. This is a heart issue and as it takes root on the inside of you, it will bear fruit on the outside.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.