A cardinal flitters at the feeder, defying the sleepy world with a splash of crimson. I watch him peck the seeds and try to fix my mind on things of God, but my thoughts race in dozens of different directions. My daily work has been wearing on me lately. It’s hard to believe your labor is not in vain when you’re sinking beneath the weight of the burden.
Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you’re the full-time caretaker for an older family member. You had dreams and visions about what your retirement would entail, and your dreams didn’t include the humble work of caring for an elderly loved one’s most basic physical needs.
You might be a mom who spends 23 hours a day nursing a newborn or serving as a personal chauffeur for a household of on-the-go teenagers. Or perhaps you thought you’d be working at your dream job by now, but you’re still waiting tables because you need to pay the bills. You feel like this season will never end, and God will never shift your circumstances.
You also feel forgotten by God. Maybe you wish you were pursuing your aspirations and making a difference in the world, but you’re confined to a tiny, dark corner and have little sense of fulfillment.
Your Labor Is Not in Vain
God has a Word for you today, sweet friend: He has not forgotten you. He sees you. Your humble, hidden work is important to him, and he is using it for important purposes. Your labor is not in vain.
One purpose for your humble work is that this work is serving someone else. Your mundane job is an opportunity to be God’s light in your workplace. As you rock your newborn, you are establishing a secure attachment that will be a foundation of strength for the rest of this little one’s life. You embody God’s love as you tend to an elderly loved one, a noisy room of preschoolers, or a cantankerous client.
Additionally, your hidden work is shaping your heart. God is testing your faithfulness in the darkness of obscurity. He is examining your willingness to serve others without applause. Hidden service is a training ground. We develop perseverance in the darkness. In darkness, God shapes our characters to match our callings.
God has not forgotten you. He sees every dish you wash, every report you file, every meal you serve, and every diaper you change. It matters. All of it. Don’t give up. Your humble service is most likely the most important work you will ever pursue.
In his letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul wrote: “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).
This work is not in vain. Nothing is lost with the Lord.
An Invitation to Talk With God When You Feel Like Your Labor Is in Vain:
Go to a quiet place and rest in God’s love and affection for just a moment. When your mind is quiet, ask God to help you identify the most difficult, hidden, humble assignment he has set before you in this season of your life.
Spend a few quiet minutes reflecting on your humble calling with the Lord. What does God want to reveal to you about the obscure and anonymous acts of service you complete on a daily basis?
Now, imagine you are serving Jesus as you serve the people in front of you, and imagine doing this work with a grateful heart. What does God want to show you about the importance of this work?
Ask God to shape your heart and make it more like his heart as you undertake his humble work.
The next time you step into this assignment in real life, imagine you are directly serving Jesus, and give thanks for the work God is doing in your heart.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe