As I sit here on Labor Day the obvious thought for this week’s devotion is to discuss our labor in the Lord – reminding that it is not in vain. (See 1 Corinthians 15:58) I think of the need to encourage us to be busy about the Lord’s work. Just the mere word “labor” brings up images of sweat and hard work.
Yet I also think of a phrase I have often heard: “If you love what you are doing you won’t work another day in your life.” In other words “hard labor” becomes “easy labor.”
I remember in my playing days how much I loved to be on the basketball court for games – and also for practices. Yes I even loved the hard work of practice because I loved the game. I can remember many nights when I simply needed time to think or wanted to relax – I would go down to Washington Middle School and practice at one of the outside goals. There was a light on the corner of the bldg that gave out just enough to see the ball going through the net-less rim. Even though I would work hard some of those nights, it never felt like “labor.”
When I think about “labor in the Lord” I can’t help but question why it is often so laborsome. The answer is that our hearts and minds are not always in the right place. I think the Lord would often interrogate us as he did Peter when He continued to ask him, “Peter, do you love Me?” And then the Lord gave the natural result of that love would be to labor – to “feed My sheep.” (See John 21:15-17)
As I attended a retreat this past week we pulled out an old praise song taken from Psalm 42. It is called “As the Deer.” What a beautiful picture of how we should be longing for God. If our hearts would be found longing – we would love the labor of serving.
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. (Psalm 42)