Fruit of Our Labors

When I hurt, I prayed. When I wept, I went to the Word. When I lamented, it moved me to worship. I continued asking the Lord what he had for me each and every day. In his graciousness, the Lord and his church consistently had work for me that positioned me for gratitude – Opportunity after opportunity. But I confess that some mornings, it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. Fall and winter came and left with challenges. I’m not seeking your sympathy with this post but rather share as a testimonial because as he always has, God faithfully brought me through.

In January, as I considered the topics for the spring workshop, I prayed that God might let me see fruit in the lives of women. I thank the ladies who joined me in that prayer. But let’s understand here that the fruit of our labors is not always ours to witness – We produce nothing on our own. However, I gladly report to you today that God has answered my prayer as of late. In the past two weeks, my encouragement has come in a variety of ways: I talked with women who I’ve mentored while they worked together, comforting a sister in Christ with compassion. I heard their plans, gave words of assurance, and watched their efforts unfold from a state away. Last week (by Zoom), I heard voices and saw faces of women who are dedicated to continue our meeting times. From some, I received photos of highlighted biblical texts and encircled sections from recommended reading. I read journal entries, and Bible study notes that were sent my way. And last night, I received a sweet progress report that included a photo of a shiny kitchen sink! Though prefaced with a hard season, I am encouraged. I am convinced that God had a purpose in the time and work of his choosing. And I am convinced that He chose to show me the fruit clearly from a distance.

Paul’s writing to the church at Corinth spurs me on. Despite the hardships and danger, in 1 Corinthians Paul addressed his brothers and sisters in Christ to live a steadfast life of believing and serving Christ. A right heart motive will focus on hope concerning the future. With the abolishing of death and the establishing of God’s kingdom, the death and resurrection of Jesus encourages a life of faithfulness. Such hope makes possible steadfastness of character and joyful work unto the Lord. After all, faithful labor has promise of eternal reward. The apostle had experienced severe difficulties, yet he addressed the Corinthian church lovingly. The church was working through a challenging time.

Commentary says: “The church at Corinth was a church fraught with problems. There were divisions in church; sin was being tolerated; false doctrine abounded and strange, fleshly practices dominated their worship. Paul wrote this book to address their problems and to bring the Corinthian believers back into line with orthodox faith and practice. The chapter before us today [Chapter 15] is an example of what I am talking about. According to 1 Cor. 15:2 there were some in Corinth that denied the reality of the resurrection.” This is in fact a troubled church were Paul spends the remainder of his writing this chapter declaring the doctrine of the resurrection while laying a solid foundation for their hope (our hope) as believers. This truth should prompt us to perseverance in the faith because privilege always has responsibilities that must not be ignored. Paul expresses his sincere love for the church and her saints in spite of their belief and behavior. 

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, 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 Cor. 15:58

Paul directs the church to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. In other words, in the present context, the truths Paul has just presented in Chapter 15 regarding the resurrection and glorification of the saints calls for consistency in their conduct. The biblical truth they had been taught was never meant just for information, but for transformation. Like the NT saints of Paul’s day, Christians today need to live with a sense of responsibility and accountability. He would have me do no less than to stay utterly helpless in my own flesh, but to stay focused on what lies ahead as I continue in the work God has established. So, whether I suffer physical pain, heartache, or hard outcomes of life events, I do my part fully dependent on Him and in Him. The results are his alone.

A biblical focus on my future makes for Christ-centered living in the present.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:4-5

Paul endured beatings, imprisonment, false accusation, and difficulties most of us can only imagine. Yet at life’s end, he passed the torch to Timothy and spurred him on. Finishing strong requires courage; Paul’s bravery was intentional and God-supplied. Paul served as he experienced unexpected seasons of life. No matter life’s hardships and circumstances, we become our best selves when we are aligning direction with God. He gives us all we need to withstand every season while resting in his grace, delighting in his mercy, and keeping hope for life eternal. And if we are bold enough to ask, sometimes He might allow us to see the fruit of our labors.

Having attended the funeral of a good friend, wisdom calls me to consider the brevity of life: It’s not how we start; it’s how we finish that is of most value. There is no greater example of finishing well than the life of Paul. I share with you today and encourage you to read the scriptures that serve as my roadmap. May I walk out obedience while staying in my lane while doing the work God has prepared, with my gaze firmly fixed on Christ Jesus.

  • 2 Timothy Chapter One
  • Titus Chapter Two
  • Ephesians 4:15-16
  • Acts 1:8
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Colossians 1:28


Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: