My daughter-in-laws father, who is now retired, was sharing about his work and the confrontations that were regularly a part of it. He recalled a meeting with government officials on behalf of his client where the statutes governing property use, improvement, and modification were at issue. In this instance the flood plane was involved, but loopholes allowed his client to reshape the flood plane without any net reduction. It was a singular victory in an arena that is highly contentious. I shared some of my experience with similar conflict in a different field of regulation and representation. We both worked for our respective clients in an attempt to reach agreement. In the midst of considerable conflict and opposition it required great preparation, diplomacy, tact, restraint, and ingenuity, but if, and when an agreement could be reached it was very satisfying; all our efforts had not been in vain.
The Bible speaks often regarding our various labors and pursuits. Solomon, the wisest of all men, concluded that all man’s activity on earth was vanity. “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1: 14). Nevertheless, he observed, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14: 23). Therefore, He concluded, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5: 18-19).
There is another path that is full of meaningfulness, satisfaction and accomplishment. Paul offers this encouragement, “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 Cor. 15: 57). This affirms what I have learned, that much of our work and activity is in vain. However, labor in the Lord is always fruitful. I’m not sure of everything that constitutes “labor in the Lord”, but it certainly is not limited to professional church work. Where we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we are in step with the Lord and can expect results and meaningful labor in the Lord.
Has the Lord given you an assignment in the Kingdom? Are you a watchman on the wall? Are you raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Do you fulfill your calling to prayer? Perhaps you were called to your occupation or profession and do it as unto the Lord. Esther was just a young woman, her uncle, Mordecai, was no prominent person and they were both captive Jews in the Babylonian society. Opportunities came to each of these and they recognized therein the hand of the Lord. They were diligent to follow with faith, trust and courage. Eventually, their labors brought great deliverance and victory to God’s people. In your daily activity seek the Lord’s face, and you will find assignment, opportunity, and leading. (Jer. 33:3). “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (Psalm 127: 1-2). With the Lord there is meaningfulness and much more.