“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3)
We all experience “dry spells” in our lives, those endless stretches of time where we think nothing much happens and nothing much changes. The exuberance of a new experience has worn off and we find ourselves wishing for a change. Maybe things are not moving fast enough for us, or we’ve experienced a series of disappointments that make matters worse. Sometimes we simply tire of doing the same old things year after year.
Rather than simply break loose from our situation altogether, maybe we need to catch a vision of why we do what we do. Let’s take a closer look at our text above.
“Work of faith”
Few people can continue to simply “work” without knowing the purpose. As children of the living God, we work because we believe. We believe God has an extraordinary plan to bring people from every tribe, tongue and nation into His marvelous kingdom. He has asked and commanded us to bring in the sheaves, and so we must. We believe that we serve a most holy God and we cannot possibly imagine a higher purpose for our lives. We believe that God will judge the quick and the dead, and therefore we labor so that others might experience salvation in Christ. We cannot cease this work until Jesus returns. Our roles might change a bit, and God will place us where He wants, but we still must serve Him with all of our being because His kingdom will truly come. We work because we believe.
“Labor of love”
Sometimes we labor because of debt. Have you seen that old bumper sticker, “I owe, I owe, I own, so off to work I go”? There is a sense that we labor for God because of what He has done for us. But we certainly cannot pay back our salvation. Instead, the more we see, feel and experience God’s love for us, the more we want to reciprocate and show Him our love. And this love has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
Parents better serve their families if they serve out of love. The same holds true for spouses. If we love someone we will sacrifice for them and do so willingly. How much more should we pull out all the stops for God, who has made everything possible for us?
“Steadfastness of hope”
When Christians gaze upon the rich promises of God, it fills their souls with hope. Immigrants on a ship to a new land suddenly spring to attention when they see the first sign of their new homeland. To them, it represents hope of a better life. How much more should we, who await God’s kingdom, spring to step in our efforts to serve God? He has surely set our table and one day we will dine with Him in the kingdom. Knowing this, we labor all the more earnestly because of the hope set before us, even as Jesus endured much for the hope set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).
While we all get tired in the work of the Lord, if we serve Him for the right reasons, we will soon revive and hasten to the Lord’s work.
Posted on Mon, May 1, 2017
by Diane Hultgren