Have you ever had to do something and then wonder to yourself, “What’s the use?” I know in my life I have questioned different tasks that I have had to do. When I was a child, my two brothers and I got a job cleaning out a shelterbelt at the University of North Dakota. This was a huge shelterbelt and by the time we finished cleaning it out, the part we started on needed cleaning again. We did this job for 5 summers and always found ourselves asking, “What is the use?” We asked ourselves this question until we received our paycheck and then we didn’t care.
I hope that my relationship with Christ is not the same as my relationship with that shelterbelt. I shouldn’t see myself as just putting in the time until I receive my paycheck. There have been times in my Christian walk that I have found myself doing things and wondering why.
I am reminded of a man by the name of James Chalmers. James Chalmers spent 24 years as a missionary to the cannibalistic tribes of New Guinea. In 1901, James was murdered by cannibals at the age of 60.
James would never know the full purpose that God had used him for.
During World War II, some American fighter pilots where shot down in New Guinea. These pilots led to the Lord by the former cannibals to which James Chalmers had witnessed.
We can never underestimate the eternal purpose and plan God has for our lives. Even if we might not see the fruit of our labor, it is our responsibility to Christ to be obedient in what we do. If we ever knew the lives we have changed by simply being obedient, we would never question our labor in the Lord. I am reminded of the two brothers sitting at the breakfast table together. As their mom is cooking pancakes, they are arguing over who will get the first one. As their mother overhears this, she reminds them that they should act as Christ, because Christ would be the last in order that the other would be first. As the brothers thought about this, the younger brother leaned over and said to his older brother, “You can be Jesus first.”
We can never take lightly the responsibility to show Jesus to a hurting world. I know that I must never underestimate the work I do for Christ. I also know that it is the church’s responsibility to be Jesus first, and reach the world around us. Paul dealt with others who felt like they were wasting time when he wrote this,
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
When we place our priorities in laboring for Christ we will never have to wonder, “What’s the use?”
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