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Your Labor is Not in Vain

Do you ever feel like your ministry is useless? You pray, pray and pray. But nothing of eternal value seems to happen. I am often like that. I labor and labor and labor and in return I see no visible fruit.

When this happens, I have to remind myself of this promise found in Isaiah 55:11.

"It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."

If you feel that way at times, then you need to claim that promise as well. Believe and know that God is at work. He is working in the hearts and minds of the people you are trying to reach.

Years ago, I was serving in a church as the associate pastor, kids' pastor and outreach pastor. If you have served in a smaller church, then you know what that means. You fill several roles as needed, which is quite often.

One day, I was out going door to door to invite people to attend our services. One of the doors I knocked on had a man in his 50's answer the door. As we began to talk, he shared with me that he had served in the military for many years and was now retired.

When I asked him about his relationship with Jesus, he told me he was an atheist. He went on to brag about the ungodly lifestyle he had lived while in the military. He said he had committed fornication and adultery with over 200 women.

I shared the Gospel with him and explained that God can forgive his sins and give him a brand new start if he would repent and turn to Jesus as his Savior. He wasn't ready to make that decision and told me bluntly that he had no intention of doing so.

I continued to pray for him and share verses with him as the days and months passed by. The time quickly came when I had to go back to college to finish my ministry degree.

I was disheartened by this. It seemed I had labored for months to help this man experience Jesus' love but it seemed to be of no avail.

I went back to college and several months quickly passed by. One day I opened my mail and there was a letter about my friend the atheist.

The letter shared how he had continued to attend church and how God had continued to work in His life. The atheist was being drawn to God through the Holy Spirit's work in his life.

A few weeks later another letter came. This letter shared how my atheist friend had finally stepped across the line of faith and given His life to Christ. He was a new man! Old things were passed away. He was on fire for God.

You maybe reading this today and you are on the verge of quitting ministry. It seems you have sown the seeds faithfully but nothing is happening. There are no visible signs that God is at work.

I want to encourage you today. Keep sowing those seeds. God is at work and He will accomplish great things through you, if you don't get discouraged and give up.

That was a reminder for me. The promise is true. Our labor is not in vain. Even when we feel like nothing is happening, something is happening. God is at work. His Word is at work. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit is at work. The Word you are sharing with kids and families will bear fruit. Some of the fruit you will see come to pass will be down the road. Maybe even years from how.

Now is not the time to quit. The spiritual fruit of your labor is coming!

And in the end, when you are looking back at your ministry, you will see all that God did through you and you will blown away. The fruit will be 30, 60, even 100 fold from what you planted.

So the next time you are teaching that class of 3rd grade boys and you are wondering if they are hearing anything you say, remember - your labor is not in vain.

The next time you get stressed out trying to get 15 preschoolers to listen to your Bible story, remember - your labor is not in vain.

The next time you are having a hard time getting through to a pre-teen, just remember that your labor is not in vain.

What an honor and privilege we have to serve Jesus. He keeps great records and great will be your reward in heaven.

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