We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, commending them on their work for the Lord. He mentions three aspects that speak volumes to us as God’s people. We need to take these things to heart if we’re going to be productive in the Kingdom of God.
Our work is produced by faith. The word for work means what we do for God. It’s the task to which we’ve been assigned.
We’ve all been called to do something different in the Body of Christ. Your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and skillsets all combine to bring about the plan God has for your life.
The key is that you must seek God to find out what you’re called to do. That’s where faith comes into the picture. How well do you trust God for your future? Are you willing to give up your agenda for His?
Then, by faith, we must let the Holy Spirit train and prepare us for the work. Too many believers want to rush ahead and get “on the job training.” Usually they become tripped up when they run ahead of the Lord. You need to trust God to bring about the plan He has for your life.
Our labor is prompted by love. This word labor, in the Greek, literally means your toil that results in weariness. It speaks of using your strength to accomplish something.
We’re willing to do this for our bosses, because they pay us cash for our strength. The Kingdom of God has a different economy. What we do for the Lord is based upon our love for Him, or at least it should be.
Your love for God is expressed in how much time, money and energy you’re willing to expend in His work. There’s no way around it – there’s something that you need to do for the Lord.
Our trouble is that we want to reap without sowing. We wait until we want to eat a salad, then go out and plant the garden. At that point, we blame God that our “salad bowl” is empty.
If you cultivate a love for the Savior, your work for Him will be a lot easier.
Our endurance is inspired by hope. The word endurance speaks of our ability to persevere through the completion of the work.
This is the hard part. Once we’ve started the task, we need to keep going. Hardships, opposition, and even the daily grind of repetition saps our will to continue.
Our attitudes often surprise me. We’re willing to drag ourselves to our job, even though we’re sick – and our boss will pay us to stay home – just to impress our employers. Why aren’t we so inspired to impress the King of kings? This is the secret to walking in the abundant life.
As I focus on the hope, the expectation, held out in the Gospel, I’m able to endure through the hard times. Then I can see the power of God released in my life.
Question: What do you find to be the hardest part of enduring in your work for God?
© Nick Zaccardi 2013