Too often that’s my attitude toward work–whether it’s housework, yard work, my paying job, my writing, or other work for the Lord.
The reason I reach that conclusion is I have expectations surrounding work. It’s when the results of my labor don’t match up with expectations that I want to give up–at least in my mind. Then my attitude is affected. Even if I don’t abandon the work, suddenly I’m just going through the motions.
Today as I was thinking about Labor Day approaching, a verse from the Bible with the word “labor” in it came to mind.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
In contemplating this verse, it seems the Lord knew I’d be tempted to abandon standing firm and move from the spot where He has placed me. He knew at times I’d fail to give myself fully to the work He’s called me to. It is no surprise to Him that I face moments when I’m thinking, “This labor I’m doing is in vain. It’s pointless.”
But thankfully God repeatedly reminds me that my efforts in working for Him are not pointless. I may not see the results I often desire–lives transformed immediately or steady changes I can perceive. But even if I see no results in my outer world, God is doing a work inside me as I continue to obey.
One area where I battle this is in my prayer life. Recently a friend and I were discussing a difficult situation that affected us both. So I said, “Let’s pray about it.”
This person voiced the attitude I’ve battled when it comes to prayer:
“What’s the point? We’ve prayed and prayed about it, and nothing has happened.”
But as I reflected on my times of prayer over this matter, I realized something had happened–in me. When I prayed in a certain way–God’s way–my attitude changed. Bitterness and self-pity melted. I began to see things from God’s perspective. I grew more patient. And I also gave the problem to God. Granted at times I took it back, but the praying changed me–if I let it and as I let go of demanding a specific result of my laboring in prayer.
So whether I feel it’s pointless or not, God has called me and every Christian to the work of prayer:
“Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Luke 18:1 KJV
“Be joyful always; pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your resquests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
I have to remind myself often of what Thomas Hooker said, “Prayer is my chief work, and it is by means of it that I carry on the rest.”
There are countless benefits to doing what God wants me to do whether it’s reaching out to those less fortunate or praying for seemingly hopeless circumstances. Most are invisible. Some I won’t be aware of until heaven. But I do know this: If I obey, it pleases God and brings Him glory.
That is the point–the whole point.
What about you? Are you believing the “It’s pointless” lie? Bring your frustrations to God and allow Him to transform the way you think and feel. Let Him remind You of the point–the purpose of it all–as you give yourself fully to the work He has called you to.