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When your work feels wasted and fruitless


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a promise found in Corinthians

Do you sometimes feel like all the work you do is either done better by someone else or seemingly worthless?

There was a time in the young church at Corinth where new believers were squabbling over who to give credit for when it came to growing the church and spreading the Good News. Some believers claimed Apollos should get the credit, while others thought Paul should instead.

The bickering became harsh enough that Paul felt compelled to write the church a letter to address it. A portion of I Corinthians speaks to the issue:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. I Corinthians 3:6-8 (NLT)

Each week, as I publish to my blog, send out my weekly devotional, or publish my latest mini-podcast episode, I still have that inner critic that likes to poke its head into my thoughts: 

“Someone else is doing this better.” 

“No one is going to read this.” 

“This isn’t helping anyone.”

At times like that, I stop and breathe the prayer:

“God, I’m the planter – You are the provider.”

It helps bring my task into perspective. He asks for our faithfulness – not our success. We are asked to cast the seeds, not be the one to produce the fruit. Apollos may be speaking in a way that touches a certain heart, and Paul’s delivery reaches a totally different one.

In the Kingdom of God, there is room for every one of our gifts. Mine – and yours.

You may not be a writer but this concept applies to you just the same.

Friend, if you’re faithfully serving in the place God has called you to – then you are exactly where you are supposed to be. It’s not worthless – in the Kingdom you are valuable and wanted. Keep planting those seeds, be faithful to the task at hand, and keep trusting the Provider – because He never fails.

What are the 3 truths that we can pull out of the situation with Paul and Apollos?

  1. We each have a role in the work of the Kingdom, and we can rest in Him when we trust  God to bring the increase.
  2. We glorify God when we work alongside – and hand in hand – with other Kingdom workers.
  3. ·True success in the Kingdom isn’t measured by outcomes, it’s measured in faithful daily tasks that add up to a lifetime of a steady resonance of dedication.

No matter what we do, whether we touch thousands or just a few, if what we are doing is for God’s glory alone, then our work is never wasted.

Father, give me a view for my work as holy work for You. I can get trapped in the mundane and habitual and feel like there isn’t anything of worth in what I am doing. Give me a renewed zeal for the tasks you have called me to and give me the endurance and perseverance to continue to plant and water the seeds you have chosen to give me to use. May the works of my hands bring forth fruit from You and be for Your glory. Amen.

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