Labor of Love

Labor of Love

labor of love
The first letter to Thessalonians starts the way I would like to be described and remembered.

Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, MSG’*)

I would like to be a person recalled by my work of faith, my labor of love, and my patience of hope in following Jesus. But – I am afraid – I fail badly. This has bothered me lately. I’ve been rereading Micah 6:8 over and over again.

He has told you, human one, what is good and
        what the Lord requires from you:
            to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8, CEB,*)

This used to be a very straight-forward, life-giving and freeing verse to me. This is all God requires you to do, I heard. But now I think differently. It’s not little and it’s not easy that we are required to do.

TO DO JUSTICE. What is it, Lord? What does that require of me? Is it wrong to own a big house when people are starving and suffering around the globe? How can I live justly? How can I be fair in every way? Being just is far from simple affair. But simple living most likely is just.

EMBRACE FAITHFUL LOVE. A great sentiment for sure. I want that. I want to be a person whose labor of love is phenomenal. But, Lord, I fail so badly. How can I love like you? How can I serve joyfully without reservations or expectations?

WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD. This probably is the key for everything. But we mess this up too. The humble part especially. How often do we think we deserve better treatment than we get? How often do we not want to surrender our everything to God?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I do know the One who has all the answers: Jesus. We need to bring our questions to God, he will answer. We also need to remember that there is no staple answer for everyone. Each of our lives are different and therefore what God requires each of us is different. The only way to find out is to abide in Christ.

The closer our relationship with God is, the easier it is to know how God wants us to live. It would be easier to get a fax from heaven stating ‘it is a sin to buy this or that’. But, I bet, we would not like to take orders that way either. Ask questions and seek answers in the Word of God. You will be directed to read the right passages and the Holy Spirit will let you know the truth and even empower you to live that way.

And if you have hard time surrendering your wants to God, ask for help. God knows what we are going through. He will enable us to surrender those things that keeps us from being totally Christ-centered. When we are abiding in Christ fully, doing justice, embracing faithful love and walking humbly with our God comes naturally.

If we have any difficulties with our labor of love, we need more grace (because grace is not just a pardon but a power). We all know how to receive as much grace as we need, right? By returning to God and asking for it. God is more than happy to pour out grace upon grace. And where there is enough grace, there labor of love exists in abundance. Thanks be to God!

 

Gracious God,
We are often confused how you want us to live.
What’s right and what’s wrong.
Lord, show each of us what it means to us.
Show us how to live justly, love mercy
and walk humbly with you.
Pour out grace upon grace and
enable us to always mind our labor of love.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you know what’s just? How is your labor of love going?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God!

Photo courtesy of Marian Trinidad, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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