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Devotional - week of December 27, 2009


LABOR IN VAIN

 

I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.  Galatians 4:11

 

It can be discouraging to a person who is deeply sincere about what he is doing when he realizes that his time had been wasted. No one could have been more sincere about his ministry than Paul. However, when he wrote to the Galatians, he was afraid that he had labored for them in vain.

 

Paul indicates in Galatians 3:3 that he was certain that they had received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. So, what was his concern about laboring in vain? After their conversion, he had taught the Galatians how to live by grace but under the influence of false teachers, some of them had turned from the life of grace and were living by the law.

 

Today, those who teach others how to live by grace have the same experience that Paul had. Some people never give a positive response to our teaching. Some live the life of grace for a while then fall into legalism.

 

Our response is one of disappointment and even grief because those we taught are not experiencing the abundant life. In addition, our thought can be that we wasted our time teaching them—we served them in vain.

 

Paul sought to bring the Galatians back to the life of grace by writing them. We can believe that there was some victory in that.  

 

We will follow Paul’s example. Even if our efforts until now appear to have been in vain, we will continue to share what we know is the way to the abundant life whenever and wherever the Lord leads.