“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 15:58, NIV).
Work may not seem like much of a spiritual theme, but the Bible actually has a lot to say about laboring for the Lord. Throughout the Old Testament, we can find many examples in which God’s followers worked diligently in response to God’s commands. Moses built a tabernacle that would be God’s meeting place with His people. Solomon built a temple that would house the glory of God. Nehemiah built a wall that would protect the city of Jerusalem. Zerubbabel and Joshua re-built the damaged temple to restore the prominence of God’s presence in their nation. In each case, the physical labor they exerted carried a profound spiritual impact on many people.
As New Testament Christians, we still have work to do. However, our focus is not as much on building structures as it is on building up the people of the church. After Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, Jesus told him, “On this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus continues to build His church today, but it is our responsibility to build His church with Him. After all, the Bible tells us we are “God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9, NKJV). So, let’s accept the responsibility to get to work with God!
When we consider the work of the Lord, we must realize that there are some facets of spiritual work that are the responsibility of all Christians. These actions include praying, seeking God, meeting with fellow believers, encouraging one another, worshipping the Lord, studying the Bible, and witnessing to others. We should embrace this work and abound in it.
Furthermore, the work of the Lord includes individual assignments He gives to each of us. Sometimes, we feel a special burden or calling to engage in a specific work, task, or activity. This assignment could mean making a long-term commitment, such as choosing a specific career, or simply reaching out to those around us in their times of need. You may feel led to cook a meal for a neighbor, visit a prisoner in jail, or give someone a ride to church. No matter how large or small the action may seem, any assignment God gives you carries great significance.
Just remember, if you’re going to make a difference, you can’t just think about the desires God has given you; you have to act on them! James wrote that there is a clear distinction between hearing God’s word and doing God’s word. He explained that hearing without doing is like looking in a mirror, noticing something flawed in your appearance like a hair out of place, but then walking away doing nothing to fix the problem. Indeed, when God moves on our hearts to work for Him, we should get to work! He who hears the word and does it “will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).
Next week, I’ll write about specific blessings that come when we work for the Lord. For now, know that it’s time to get to work on the special assignment God has for you! “Don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort” (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG).