Being Real In Spiritual Labor
I- LABOR WITH PATIENCE ().
7 Dear brothers and sisters,* be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
A- Keep on laboring patiently until Jesus returns (Verse 7 a, 8 b).
B- Keep working the vineyard until Jesus returns (verse 7 b, 8 a).
The blessed hope of the Christian is the personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ (see Titus 2:12–13). We must not allow events to dull our hope in Jesus’ return. We must not reduce our hope for Jesus’ return to something like the transformation of society by Christian values. Jesus will come personally!
The hope of Jesus’ return gave the early Christians hope as they faced hardship (Heb. 9:28). We must look at time from the viewpoint of the God for whom a thousand years is only a day (2 Pet. 3:8; 2 Cor. 4:16–18). Though centuries have passed since Jesus promised to return, we serve a God for whom the length of time does not imply a failed promise. Our hope of Christ’s return is an encouragement for us to obey him.
J. Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission in the 1860s. He believed fervently in the impending return of Christ. His belief influenced him to make the evangelism of unreached areas of China his primary aim. His beliefs about Christ’s return gave him direction and urgency in the establishment of the mission.
Our belief in the return of Christ can provide us courage to face difficulty. It can give us stamina to endure persecution. It can deepen our hope that God will provide us reward and recognition to vindicate our actions.
II- LABOR WITH A POSITIVE ATTITUDE ().
A- Keep a positive attitude toward fellow believers ().
B- Keep a positive attitude toward the work ().
In Jeremiah 38, King Zedekiah wrongly imprisoned the prophet Jeremiah in a muddy dungeon and left him to die. Jeremiah voiced no complaint toward God or his captors. When Zedekiah summoned him and asked for his advice in a matter, Jeremiah told him, “Obey the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared” (Jer. 38:20). Jeremiah spoke in the name of the Lord and showed obedience despite intense suffering. He showed long-suffering in that he neither complained nor found fault with God’s treatment. We are to imitate behavior like that.