WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 13, 2022
TOPIC: WHEN YOU FEEL THAT YOUR LABOUR IS IN VAIN
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, and my work with my God’” (Isaiah 49:4 New King James Version).
Jesus called Himself the Son of man when He was on earth although He is also the Son of God. As the Son of man, Jesus went through the challenges that human beings faced. Hebrews 4:15 says that we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus expressed human emotions when He was on earth. He was glad; He wept. He showed compassion and was angry. Jesus also experienced rejection by His own, the Jews, on whom He focused His ministry. Although Jesus came to save the world, He said that He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). In other words, the mission to save the world must begin from the Jews, not that He came to save only the Jews.
Jesus did not restrict His ministry to Jews as He also ministered to non-Jews such as His ministry in the Gentile region of the Gerasenes, Gergesenes, or Gadarenes (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) and the Samaritan city (John 4:1-42). He also ministered to the servant of the Roman centurion (Luke 7:1-10) and the daughter of the Canaanite or Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30). God is both the God of Jews and the Gentiles (Romans 3:29). He wants everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
However, the Jews whom Jesus ministered to largely rejected Him. As John 1:11 says, He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. Also, John 7:5 says even His brothers did not believe in Him. In Matthew 23:37, Jesus lamented over Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (New King James Version). The Jews eventually crucified Him.
If you were in Jesus’ shoes, how would you feel if the people you labour so much over do not appreciate your labour or you cannot see the evidence of the reward for your labour over them? You would feel that your labour is in vain. Many people are in that situation today, including those in the Gospel ministry. They feel that their labour is in vain as they cannot see any reward or they see a little reward. Consequently, many have become discouraged. Some have even quit. But they shouldn’t.
In the book of Isaiah, the Prophet Isaiah records the words of the Messiah, Jesus, regarding His ministry among the Jews thus: “Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, and my work with my God’” (Isaiah 49:4 New King James Version). The Messiah felt that He had laboured in vain. But He was not discouraged, for He looked to the LORD for His reward. We must learn from Him.
If you are doing what the Lord has asked you to do and you cannot see visible results, there is a tendency to sometimes feel that your labour is in vain. But don’t meditate on that or believe it because whatever you meditate on will eventually be magnified. Very soon, your wrong perception of your situation will appear as reality. If you’re obedient to God, your labour is not in vain and God will reward you. There are both earthly and eternal rewards. Everything does not end here on earth. Surely, God will reward you. But as the Messiah did, don’t look unto man; look unto God.
Isaiah 40:10 says, “Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him” (New King James Version). Your labour is not in vain. Isaiah 62:11 says, “Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him’” (New King James Version).
Jesus did the will of God and was not discouraged. Isaiah 42:4 says He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth and the coastlands shall wait for His law. Don’t be discouraged by lack of result or little result. Don’t, because of this, conclude that your labour is in vain. Your just reward is with the Lord; your work is with Him.
Trust in the Lord, Don’t resort to unscriptural means to produce results to make you feel good and impress others. Isaiah 50:10-11 says, “Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon his God. Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled — This you shall have from My hand: you shall lie down in torment” (New King James Version).
1 Peter 2:23 says the Messiah was reviled but He did not revile in return and when He suffered, He did not threaten but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. Eventually, after His death on the cross, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). Thus, we can see that Jesus didn’t waste His strength; He didn’t spend it in vain; His just reward was with the LORD and His work with His God.
Also, commit yourself to God, as Jesus did, even if you suffer while labouring in obedience to God. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19 New King James Version). Your labour is not in vain even if you sometimes feel this way. Don’t let the devil make you continue to meditate on such a thought and you will go into depression. There’s a reward for your labour. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12 New King James Version).
Your labour is not in vain. Whatever you are doing for the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (New King James Version). Be strong and don’t let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded (2 Chronicles 15:7). Don’t grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9). Your labour is not in vain.
If you are not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I reject any feeling that my labour is in vain. My labour is not in vain in Jesus’ name. I shall receive my full reward from God. Holy Spirit, give me divine perspective in the face of little results or no results as I pursue the will of God for my life. Father, I pray for divine encouragement for everyone who has quit doing God’s assignment for them because of the feeling that their labour is in vain and there is no reward for them.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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