It is a blessing. As Christians we know that because of Adam’s disobedience and rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, God sent him and his wife packing from the bliss of perfection. God made that wonderful eutopia and told man to tend it and oversee the animals. He gave Adam a helpmate so he didn’t have to do it alone. The toughest thing they had to do was pick the ever-present fruit from trees of evey kind. It was a blessing to work all week and be able to rest on the seventh day. After their rebellion, their poor choices prompted God to add sweat and struggle to man’s labor. Weed-free gardens were no more. Eve would labor long and hard to give birth; and it would be painful. The curse was not the labor. The curse was losing the ease of their labor, the consequence for sin. Their disobedience even took away their immortality. Death would sting because of their sin.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, 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 15:57-59
Have you labored hard and long and had the seeds you’ve sown, wither and die the moment they sprout? Have you struggled to till your “field” and spend sunrise to sunset making your rows straight and then birds swoop in and scratch up the work you’ve done and steal away your seed? Have you eagerly watered and waited to see some result, only to see your plants spring to life be strangled by the weeds? Do you wonder where you’ve gone wrong? Don’t fret. You cannot know the seeds that have yet to come to life beneath the soil of God’s grace and keeping. You cannot know where the bird may carry your seed and if it will drop to earth and bring forth a bountiful vine with branches ladened with grapes.
Let nothing discourage you. Don’t look back on what you’ve plowed and planted, my friends. You cannot undo what the world does. You can only control what you do. You can pray. You can teach, preach and make disciples. You can love. Your labor is not for what you see harvested in your midst. “Stand firm.” Know your whole-hearted efforts are not empty baskets before the Lord. Rest in Him. Rest in what He does through your obedient ministry for which you are called. Whatever that ministry is, do it fully for the Lord.
Mother, you are not unappreciated for wiping runny noses, playing blocks, and disciplining and teaching them obedience. Homemaker, your hands are seen as you make that bread. Father, you are not forgotten in the labor some do not see as you work to provide for the children God has given you, to love your wife as Christ loved the church. Volunteers, God knows how freely you give your heart and soul to serve others in His name.
Preachers, teachers, ministers of all kinds, give thanks to God that Jesus has provided all you need to accomplish the tasks before you. What you cannot do, God can. God will. Rest in the joy of the LORD. It is your strength. Rejoice. Praise God. Be still and know that He is God. “Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”