What’s The Point of All This Work?

One of the challenges of the Christian life is to keep working when it seems to be in vain.

We share the gospel with someone for months and they don’t receive Christ.  We try our best to bring up a child in the fear and instruction of the Lord and he rejects Christ as a teenager.  A pastor faithfully preaches the gospel only to find his church doesn’t grow much.  A small group leader encourages his fellow Christians week after week and they don’t seem to change.

We can ask “Is it worth it?”  Paul says:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Christians are never finished.  It’s not like building a house where you finish, step back, and see the work of your hands.  God’s work in us is never done in this life.  Fruit takes a long time.  God often lets us experience the joy of reaping and lets us see the fruit of our labor, but it usually takes a long time.  And sometimes we don’t see it at all.

Paul could have been tempted to feel like his labor was pointless.  Near the end of his life he wrote Timothy:

You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. (2 Timothy 1:15)

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. (2 Timothy 4:10).

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!  (2 Timothy 4:14-16)

Deserted by many, abandoned by key leaders.  No one comes to his defense.  What’s the point?

Here’s the point: our labor in Jesus is not in vain.  None of it.  God promises our work for him will be rewarded in the end. He’ll use it somehow.  He won’t waste a single bit of it.

It’s knowing this that stirs us to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

It’s knowing this, DESPITE appearances, that keeps us sharing the gospel, training our children, and serving God’s people.

So be steadfast.  Immovable.  Keep praying.  Keep hoping.  Keep loving.  Someday you’ll hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Master.”

  • http://mysonginthenight.com Bobby Gilles

    Great word, Mark. Thanks so much for posting this.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Bobby.

  • Jasmine

    Very encouraging post, especially we all at times would feel weary. Thank you!!!

    Sorry meant to click thumb up button for Bobby's comments above, but click the other one instead on the small screen of iPad, and can't undo it!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks Jasmine! Hey no prob, I've clicked wrong buttons plenty of times….the worst is when I accidentally click "Like" for myself….

  • http://www.judahupdate.blogspot.com briana

    excellent, needed encouragement, Mark! Thanks. This will be going on my "read again" board over at pinterest. ;)

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks Briana! I'm going to have to check out pinterest – Beth uses it…

  • Elaine

    Great encouragement, Mark! Thanks so much.

    My Grandma Mollie prayed consistently for the salvation her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. She was absolutely convinced that the Lord was able to save each and every one. She went to her grave with most of those prayers unanswered but in the years since her death, most of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild have come to know the Lord. Now she even has great-greatgrandchildren who are being taught the Gospel by their parents, some of who have heard the truths of Jesus right from her lips. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness! To give our family a praying grandma – what a blessing to so many generations!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Elaine, you always have such great real life illustrations! I love this one! Thanks – it's faith-building.