Don't Labor In Vain

Have you ever had a day where you tried to fit in as many errands as possible? You run around frantically, but when you get back home, you feel like you barely got anything done. It’s exhausting

It’s so easy to make yourself busy for the sake of being busy. As someone who loves a good to-do list, I often get too focused on finishing tasks rather than looking at the big-picture purpose of what I’m working towards. 

Psalm 127:1 keeps popping up in my life lately. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” 

The truth is, we can work really hard, put in long hours, and give our all to a project or even a career, but unless the Lord is behind what we are doing, we are ultimately wasting the precious time we have

Let’s say you get hired as a builder to work on a house. You grab your hammer, head to the site, and start hammering nails into a random wall. You work all day, hammering and sweating as you fill the wall with nails. Then you go home and say, “Wow, I worked so much today. That was great.” Yeah, you worked hard, but in reality, you didn’t accomplish anything

Instead, it would be much more productive if you went to the person in charge before you started using your tools. The contractor could give you your marching orders, because they have the blueprint and know what needs to get done so the house gets built correctly. 

Here’s the thing: We can choose to waste our gifts by working towards something without including God in our plan. However, our Father in Heaven wants us to work with Him. He’s got the blueprint. He knows our skills and the skills of others. He knows how it all fits together. 

Psalm 127:1 should also ease some of our anxiety, because we are not the ones in control. The Lord is the one who watches over us. He is the one who builds the house. We do what we can with the gifts we have been given, and then we let God take care of the rest. He is far more capable than we are, so we can rest assured that He will get the job done. He is just gracious enough to let us be a part of it. How amazing is that? 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

By seeking guidance from the Lord daily, we gain a better understanding of what we are uniquely called to do for His Kingdom. And knowing our role gives a whole new purpose and energy to our work. Instead of striving for the approval of others, we work for something much bigger than ourselves. 

As we go back to school or fall into new routines, let us be mindful to not get caught up in the doing, rather than the why we’re doing it. Take some time to ask God what His plan is and how you fit into it. Ask Him to give you direction and purpose in your day-to-day activities. 

Have you been working with God in all that you do?


Abigail is a 25-year-old freelance writer from Jackson, MS who earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Mississippi College in 2015. She spends most of her time climbing ladders and recommending her favorite authors at Lemuria Books. You can read more of her writing at