Bible Reading: Psalm 127:1-2
“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:1-2)
You have probably heard catchphrases along the lines, “Hard work is the key to success”. Many of us even believe these. I am not saying that laziness will bring success. By no means will the sluggard be rewarded for their efforts (see Proverbs 6:6-11). However, for many of us, hard work has become an idol.
When I say ‘hard work is an idol’, I am not only talking about the exceptional students who are often apt to chase after prestige and achievements. I am also addressing all those who would consider themselves just about average. A lot of the time, we will find that the ‘smart’ people work really hard, and the ‘average’ people end up seeing themselves as failures and succumb to laziness. In both cases, we are idolising ‘hard work’. The former think that hard work will reap the satisfaction and happiness they long for while the latter envy those who are ‘smart’ and, in turn, succumb to pity themselves in their weakness and ‘inability’ to work hard.
In simple words, as humans, we love to put our identity in what we can achieve, whether we are one who is achieving great things or one who secretly envies those who can achieve great things. In either case, we have turned against God’s ways.
Psalm 127 reminds us that without God, we are nothing. All the hard work and effort we put in will never satisfy us, nor will it make us like God. Do you recall what happened at the tower of Babel? From ages past, humans have always prided in their self-ability, leading us to desire to replace God as the ruler of this world. God desires us to humbly acknowledge that God is the one in control of all things, and He is the one worthy of our worship.
On the other hand, just because God is in control does not mean that we don’t have to work hard. We must work hard. But, when we give our enduring diligence, it is not because we need to prove ourselves. We ought to work hard to serve God because He has first loved us. Our response to Him must be one of delight.
When we diligently work hard while relying on God in whatever He has called us to do and wherever He calls us to serve, we will find the joy of walking with God. When we diligently rely on God in our schoolwork, church ministries, family life, friendship life, and all aspects of our life, we get to grow closer in an intimate relationship with God where we see God lead us one step at a time. We see God work in our hearts to create deeper trust and reliance on Him.
In essence, this is what faith is. This is the life we are called to live as Christians. We are called to wholeheartedly serve God with diligence and hard work out of reverence for Him, and we are called to rely on Him alone to accomplish all things wholeheartedly. Learning to walk with God is truly the greatest and fullest joy and meaning one could ever find in this life.
Lord, Thank You for who You are and what You have done. In Your love, You sent Christ so that we can be saved and learn to walk with You. Please help us to live diligently in obedience to Your will and help us to rely on You in all of these things. Teach us to walk with You even more and help us to get to know You even more. In Jesus’ name, amen.