Don't Work in Vain


From the book: "Every Day Light; Treasure for the Heart

Psalm 127:1 "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain."

A subject on which most people have strong views is that of work. Those who are out of work or cannot work because of some injury or disability find the subject a distressing one. Those who have work and enjoy what they do find it deeply rewarding and fulfilling. There is a minority who , while they like the thought of financial reward, are not so keen to make the effort necessary to earn that reward.

The theme of Psalm 127 is,as you have guessed, work. It puts the whole subject into clear spiritual focus. Work is a major component of our lives. It is the one area of life perhaps above all others where, as Eugene Peterson has put it: "Our sin can be magnified or our faith mature." The ancient Israelites saw work in the same light that they saw worship. To them there was no difference between the sacred and the secular. Everything they did they did under the eye of God, and each activity had to square with the divine will.

"Unless the Lord builds the house.....Unless the Lord watches over the city, (all is) in vain" (v.1). Note the word "unless". It presupposes that God works also. He builds and He watches. Because of that, unless we link everything we do to HIm then it will be in vain. I really mean that. A house can be built by human hands but it can only become a home when God is in it. God must be at work in our work otherwise our work is in vain.

Prayer: Father, I remember what Your Son said when He was on earth: "My Father is always at his work...and I, too, am working" (John 5:17). Show me how to link my work with Your work so that what I do becomes a natural, inevitable, and faithful development of Your work. Amen.


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