Today is the day in America where we are given a holiday to rest from our labor of work. In my reading this morning, I came across a poignant Scripture: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” (Ps 127:2)
The word used here for “vain” means meaningless and empty of value. The Lord pours out His favor on our labor, and establishes the work of our hands (Ps 90:17). But when our toil is divorced from His providence, or when we undertake to work in our own strength, we discover the futility of our actions. When we seek to be independent of the Lord, we find it is vain to rise up early and retire late in order to eat the bread of painful labors – for the Lord, gives to His beloved – even in his sleep.
For those that are saved by grace through faith in His redemptive work, the Lord gives, and continues to give innumerable benefits – but without faith it is impossible for His children to please Him (Heb 11:6). How futile, therefore, to stress about getting up early and striving to work late into the night, in order to supply what we need according to what we do, when God has promised to supply all our needs, according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19) – and to bestow His grace on His beloved children, even when we are sleeping.
What is labor that is not in vain? Any work done for Christ, who we serve. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Col 3:23-24) So no matter what work He has established for us, we are to labor for Him — not for recognition, not for earthly rewards, but to work for His kingdom, all the while knowing we may never receive rewards here on earth. Instead, we are to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven (Matt 6:19-21).
The only way to keep from becoming weary in our work is to stay tethered to our Lord in prayer and reading His Word, and to surrender our will for His. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Gal 6:9)
Heavenly Father, thank You for the daily provision of the gifts and graces, that are ours in Christ, which are even poured out on us during the night-time hours. Thank You for the work that You have given me to do, during my time on earth. Lord, I know that without You, I can do nothing, and yet I praise You that I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me. Keep me from the worries of the day, the fears of the night, and from trying to sort out my personal problems, without coming to You, and relying on Your sufficient strength and promised grace. May I never forget that it is YOU who provides for my daily needs, and I pray that from this day forward, I may do all for Your greater glory and praise. This I ask in the precious name of Jesus, amen.