Why You Should Work Hard, Even When It Seems Fruitless

weights sxchu tome213I knew it was going to be my last week of college athletics, ever. And I didn’t care a lick about finishing strong.

My final season playing football for Furman University started out well, with three wins, and our only loss was a respectable game against a much bigger Clemson program. But a series of decimating injuries (by the end of the season, 9 of our 11 defensive starters were freshmen) led to 4 losses in the next 5 games. Needless to say, it was heart-breaking, especially for a perfectionist like me.

So, that last week, on Monday afternoon, I was walking down the hallway of our athletic facility, heading to the weight room for my next-to-last workout of my career. (We lifted weights on Mondays and Wednesdays during the season.)

I thought, “Is there any reason to work out hard in the weight room? What’s the point? Even if we do win, we’ll still have a losing record. And since I am a back-up, I’m not a major contributor to the team’s success. Will it really make a difference if I work out hard? What difference will it make if I just slack off?”

As soon as I stopped asking these questions, I heard a voice in my head as clear as can be. It said:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, knowing that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

You may recognize this quote from a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church (Col. 3:23-24). I’m sure I had memorized the verse at some point, but it was in this moment that it became real to me.

God reminded me that my efforts are not about me. And really, my efforts are not about others. Everything I do should be about HIM.

And this is a reminder for me now in ministry. And since all Christians are called to be in ministry (whether or not you are paid for it), it’s a reminder for us all.

Do you feel exhausted or stretched in what you are involved in? Are you pouring yourself out and wondering why you should keep doing it, and keep doing it with your complete effort?

The answer is simple:

  1. God commands you to do so.
  2. You work for God, not for yourself or others.
  3. God has a reward for you.

My friends, press on (Philippians 3:14). Our time here is short, so let’s make the most of it, and not give up or disqualify ourselves.

(Of course, we need to be intentional about rest, but that’s another post.)

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

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**image courtesy of tome213 via sxc.hu

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2 responses to “Why You Should Work Hard, Even When It Seems Fruitless”

  1. keith says :

    Great post Joey. Thanks for the reminder.
    kd

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