“…remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father…“
labor of love,
The second virtue of the Thessalonians is their love. The Greek says, “your labor, the one out of love.” Love impelled their labor. Biblical love is more than sentiment. Love is not sweetness. We confuse cultural love with true biblical love. Agape love is willing to sacrifice for others. It is others oriented. To love sacrificially is to labor until it hurts.
The word “labor” means labor to the point of exhaustion. It is a love of blood, sweat, and tears. Self-sacrificial love moves us to labor. This love is willing to toil and to pay a price. Love activates arduous labor. Love prompts this tough grind.
“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises,” (Hebrews 6:9-12).
Love reaches to the extent of self-denial.
Everything we receive as Christians, we receive by grace. We do not work for either our salvation or for blessings within the Christian life. Unless we are ungrateful, we appreciate and love the Lord Jesus for all that He provides for us. We want to show our gratitude for all that He has done. We will give ourselves till it hurts. We will endure a lot of pain to tell others about Him and His provisions. Our labor for the Lord only dims when Calvary dims to us, and we forget the cost of our salvation.
What is your labor of love? Do you engage in some challenging labor for the Lord? Do you lead a small group because you appreciate the Lord? Will you allow the Lord to put a harness of service on you?
Many of us serve the Lord nine to five. We do not go out of our way to serve Him. If it is convenient, we will serve Him. This may indicate that we do not truly love Him.
Are you willing to hurt for others? Are you open to give sweat for the Lord Jesus? People who truly love Him labor to the point of utter exhaustion. We say, “Well, I have a husband, a wife, or children. I do not have time to give to God.” Do you have a Lord? Marriage relationships and parental relationships are important in God’s economy. We must put a high priority on them, but some of us use relationships as reasons for not putting sweat into the cause of Christ.
Relationships primarily have to do with communication. If our communication breaks down, then we will not have proper relationships. The real issue is communication, not time. Time is an illusion for the real problem. The real issue is cherishing your wife or respecting your husband. Those are the real issues.
How would you score yourself on the first two motivations for ministry? Very few people truly give themselves for the cause of Christ. Are you willing to put your all into serving the Lord?
Those who avoid trouble love little.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).