Originally published Thursday, 21 July 2016.
About five years ago, I spent months working on a book proposal. Various friends spent weeks helping me edit it. And then it was rejected by more publishers than I care to recount. Since then, it has sat forgotten tucked away in the depths of my computer files, and if it were possible, collecting dust.
I recently remarked to a friend that one of the hardest things about writing is when something isn't used. When hours are spent crafting just the right sentence, when I've woven my heart and soul into each paragraph, and it is never read, it makes all the time, effort, and energy seem like a waste. It's disheartening and discouraging.
But writing isn't the only thing I put energy into that no one sees. There are countless things throughout the day I work on that goes unnoticed by those around me. The laundry I fold and put away. The items I pick up off the floor and return to rightful homes. The time and energy I pour into my children's heart and spiritual growth. The intercessory prayers I pray for others.
There are so many things I sacrifice for and put energy into that seem to go unnoticed. Things that I might invest in and never see fruit develop. Decisions and choices I make for the benefit of those around me. Sacrifices of time and effort to serve and provide for others. And sometimes I grow weary and wonder, is it worth it?
Friends, perhaps you grow weary too. After changing hundreds of diapers, cleaning up the house at the end of each day only to have to repeat it again the next, working hard at a job where no one seems to care, helping the unappreciative, or writing words no one sees, we can start to think, why bother?
But here's the truth:
And all things done for his glory and in his name are never wasted. That includes the laundry we fold, the meals we prepare, and all the quiet, mundane acts of service we provide for our family. It includes the efforts to do the right thing when it would be easier not to. It includes working hard even when no one else cares to. It includes ceaseless prayers with a prostrate heart. And it includes even the strings of words that lie dormant on my hard drive. All work done for God's sake is good work, whether anyone sees it or not.
This is what we are called to do, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17).
We work hard because Christ first worked for us. His holy, perfect, and righteous work in obeying the law in our stead was given to us. His sacrificial work on our behalf at the cross paid the penalty we were due. His work paved the way for all the work we do, the seen and unseen, the mundane and the spectacular, the boring and the interesting, the easy and the hard. Because of the work Christ did for us, all our work is done through him and for him.
"So ought you to behave this day, and every day; for you belong wholly to him who loved you, and gave himself for you. Let the love of Christ constrain us in this matter: let us put on the yoke of Christ, and feel at once that we are his blood-bought possession, and his servants for ever, because by faith he has become ours and we are his. We ought to live as Christ's men in every little as well as in every great matter; whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, we should do all to the glory of God, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Christ Jesus. Thus, you see, faith in him who gave himself for us leads us to spend our energies in his service, and to do our ordinary work with an eye to his glory, and so our life is coloured and savoured by our faith in the Son of God."-Charles Spurgeon
And God promises that our work for him will not be wasted, "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:8-10). We are also assured that the work he is doing in and through us will be completed upon his return, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
So friends, if you are working hard for the Lord, don't give up. Don't despair. All your work done for God's glory is storing up for you eternal treasures that far outweigh any accolades or acknowledgement in the here and now. None of it is wasted or lost. Your quiet faithfulness in all things, even in the unseen and in the monotonous and mundane, is seen by your Father in Heaven. So let your Savior's holy and sacrificial work for you be your motivation and joy for service.