Our Labor for the Kingdom
Labor: Servitude and submission to authority.
“To this end I labour and struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:29 NIV)
Works in this passage is from the Greek word “Energia”, which is where we get our English word energy, and it generally refers to God. So our work or ministry must be accomplished with God’s energy. This enables us to be on fire for God, and never burn out.
In ministry to others, it is important that we concentrate on their edification and maturing them spiritually, with less emphasis on programs and presumptuous and transient teachings, which stunts spiritual growth. It is imperative that they be edified in truth and that their lives are based on the sure foundation of the work done in them through Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. And you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:29-30 NKJ)
These verses say in a nutshell that we can either do it Jesus’ way, the easy way, and in His strength, or we can make it hard for ourselves doing it in our own strength.
The easy way means; that which is useful, pleasant, good, comfortable, suitable and serviceable, as opposed to the legalistic religious system which is a severe burden.
The service for Jesus is not wearing or misleading, because it is well-forming and built on personal relationships with God, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
With this in mind, let’s look at nine points that will enable us to understand what our labor for the Kingdom is.
Our labor for the kingdom is:
1. A labor of love:
“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour promoted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV)
Faith, hope and love appear together through the bible and Paul’s writings and were the foundation of his ministry. This scripture is a great example for us to follow as we step out in faith, with the assurance and belief of the truthfulness of God, relying on Jesus as we do so.
Hope is not optimism, wishful thinking or without foundation, but is a confident expectation, based on solid certainty. Biblical hope rests on God’s promises, in particular, those pertaining to Christ’s return. Hope is never inferior to faith, but is an extension of faith and they go hand in hand, as we step out in God’s leading.
Faith is the present possession of grace. Hope is confidence in grace’s future accomplishment.
Love is affection and benevolence to those we reach out to in friendship from the heart. Love is not wishy-washy or superficial, it is a heartfelt attachment, to accept and minister to the loveable and unlovable alike in the same example that Jesus set for us.
2. A labor not in vain:
“Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)
Never give up in your endeavors for Jesus, keep pushing through soundly and boldly in faith, knowing that service for Him is not an empty, useless activity. Our labor in the Lord is not in vain, our effort is invested in God’s winning cause, for He rewards those who lovingly walk in faithful and loyal service. (See Matt 16:27)
3. A labor known by Christ:
“I know your works, your labour, and your patience.” (Revelation 2:2a NKJ)
No matter how we look at it, how we feel, whether we like it or not, the Lord sees all our work and knows if we have done it willingly, faithfully and lovingly, or if we have performed half-heartedly, grudgingly or selfishly.
For as 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” God is not just talking about our money, but our time, talents and loyal and joyful service.
4. A labor God does not forget:
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10 NIV)
Our God is an all seeing God, therefore He sees all our endeavors and achievements performed for Him, and to the people He brings across our paths. He sees and does not forget the manner and the caring loving attitude given to those in need. For by doing this you become an imitator of Christ, showing as He did our love for the Father.
5. A labour which is to be done together:
“We are God’s fellow workers.” (1 Corinthians 3:9 NKJ)
This scripture shows very clearly we are not to be one man bands, but team workers laboring in tandem with God and other members of God’s staff. As we know there is no I in the word team.
We are not to boast or gloat on the work we have accomplished, for it is God who gives the labor, it is God who give the increase, it is God who gives guidance, therefore it is God who gets the glory from our humble service.
6. A labor for eternal things (future):
“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all (God’s) wisdom, that we may present everyman perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28 NKJ)
We have a responsibility to deliver the gospel of salvation to all people, bringing them to spiritual maturity. Anything that hinders this is to be done away with. Programs do not work but one on one ministry and building relationships does.
Clearly remember, bringing others to salvation does not always happen immediately, but is mostly futuristic. So be patient and wait; it could be a long walk but it is worth it.
7. A labor which is to reward:
“Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his labour.” (1 Corinthians 3:8 NKJ)
God is the head and the source, salvation is the object of our ministry, we are one instrument in God’s hands.
Our differences with each other must shrink into insignificance when the source and objects of our ministry are discovered and owned. He that plants, he that waters and he that reaps are one.
We as servants of God have many differences; we differ in talents, we differ in personality, we differ in temperaments and attainments, but we are all one in spirit and ultimate goal. We are not rivals but are all one regardless of the diversity of our talents and types of labor we are called to do. Therefore, we will all receive our own reward according to our labor, from the same God, for we are God’s fellow workers. How good is that!
8. A labor done to be accepted by Him:
“I beseech (urge) you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (rational) service.” (Romans 12:1 NKJ)
Let God’s word and His Holy Spirit radically transform your mind and your way of ministering, thereby enabling you to minister effectively and live in obedient service to God and the labor He gives.
Seeing Christians, both Jew and Gentile, as the people of God, the question asked is, “Should we not offer sacrifices to God, like the Jews of the Old Testament did?” The answer is yes, but not animal or bird sacrifices at a temple. We should offer our bodies (all that we are) as living sacrifices in committed service each day to God.
9. A labor which doesn’t have an end:
“He (Jesus) told them, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Luke 10:2 NIV)
Our labor is constant and does not have and end until the final judgment. Whether we realize it or not, the harvest is already in process. So time is of the utmost importance and the consequences of rejection are final.
Give your all in service to the King and the lost and the stumbling as long as you are alive in this body for the rewards in heaven are indescribable.
We should not labor for rewards, even though they do come, but for our love to God and the people He brings into our lives, saved and unsaved alike.
We can be happy and spiritually healthy only if we feel that we are working in God’s world, for God’s Glory through doing what is God’s will. Remember, all labor must be done very simply and quietly because it is God who puts it into our hands to do.
One final thought: “Our God can do all things, but He loves our help.”