There are many times that we do our work, but it is hard or painful and it looks like it is all done for nothing.
- a couple pouring into a prodigal child, even though the child refuses to respond to their love
- a person investing in an unbeliever, although they continually reject the gospel
- a mate continuing to love and give to their mate, even though there does not seem to be love in return.
- the employee who faithfully does his work "unto God" even though he seems to be opposed and looked over.
- the one who is suffering physically and there seems to be no end.
- the pastor or ministry leader who continues to minister faithfully, although there seems to be only minor fruit.
The Psalmist writes of the Israelites who had been in captivity and now, after many years, were returning to their beloved Jerusalem.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)
The great lesson is that we must continue "sowing." We must do the right thing persistently and faithfully, even when we don't see the results we desire. We trust in the law of the harvest: that if we sow, we will one day reap a harvest.
And, we must remember that all we are doing is for a higher purpose and Person. We do our work faithfully “as unto the Lord.”
THE PROMISED RETURN
God sees this faithfulness and will always reward. The results may not be what the sower desired in the way or the time they anticipated. But God's promises are bigger than man's rebellion or the world’s pressures. He will answer the faithful in time. He will bring them back with the fruit of their labor in hand ("bringing his sheaves with him").
I often told my mother during a season when my dad was rebelling and leaving her for another woman, "Mom, you just want to keep taking the next right step: loving, forgiving, confronting when God prompts, and leave the results to God. You want to lay your head on the pillow each night knowing you've done the right thing. And the person who does the right thing in Christ always wins."
And she did. And you will too.