Our Work is Not in Vain

Steve Becker

1 Corinthians 15:58

Always give yourself fully to the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Many years ago, I knew a man in his thirties with two small children who was working long hours every week. His job was quite the sacrifice for his family, but he enjoyed his work and the contribution he felt he was making. Then he discovered he had terminal cancer. Right after learning this, a project he had just spent a great amount of time on was completely scrapped. As if it never existed. As he prepared to die, this was one of his greatest regrets.

You and I have probably each looked at the time and energy that we put into our projects and wondered whether it is worth it. We live in a flawed and fallen world, so for all we put into our work, it always falls short to some degree.

It’s tempting to become discouraged or lose sight of what it means to give ourselves fully to the Lord in our work in these situations.

As Christians in commerce we’ve joined in the Lord’s work to advance his redemption in the occupations, businesses and relationships we’re a part of.

This should inform our approach, behavior and speech at work. As we give ourselves fully to the Lord in our work, we can have the confidence that none of it is in vain. The results are in his hands. What we do for him will carry over to the new heaven and new earth. Everything works together for our good (see Romans 8:28).

Many years ago in a former job, I was privileged to work with another man who shared this vision in a very challenging industry. We were successful in leading our team in doing excellent work, creating an exceptional culture and producing a product that not only received national recognition but reflected well on the Kingdom of God. We were able to reveal to others a glimpse of God’s Kingdom in how we worked and what we produced.

That lasted about five or six years, and then I was off the account. The culture that we had worked to create was carried on for several years by many coworkers. But now twenty years later, there’s not any trace of it in the business and everyone we worked with has moved on.  But, I know it was not in vain! What we did for the Lord will carry over to the fullness of his Kingdom. And the work that the Lord did in others through us has a ripple effect throughout our world.

As Christians, we bring a distinctive perspective and hope to our work. It should affect the way we approach our jobs and those we encounter each day. And as we give ourselves fully to the Lord in the work we do, how we do it and who we are, we can have confidence it’s not a waste of our time or energy. It is for the Lord!

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: How can you work fully for the Lord today?