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Unless The Lord Builds The House

by Ken Barnes  
11/19/2015 / Christian Living

Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
( Psalms 127: 2a NASB)

Recently I had a day on my job that was an exercise in futility. I worked longer and harder than usual but accomplished almost nothing. When God is not working with us we actually labor in vain.

The next morning my daily reading was Psalm 127. I read this passage and wondered why my labor the day before seemed to be so futile. Sometimes there's a very fine line between diligence and striving. Of course God wants his people to be diligent. But Psalm 46:10 (NASB) exhorts us not to strive. How do we distinguish between hard work and nervous effort? Do we have peace in it? That day I noticed restlessness in my spirit. Peace is the barometer of the soul. It's the indicator of how well our efforts are aligning with God's will. It's not the absence of struggle but the presence of calm or tranquilly in our daily battles. God is concerned about his children's daily life and peace is the compass that guides us.

The key is whether we believe that God cares about the mundane aspects of our lives. The Bible says, "Faith without works is dead." But some of us practice that as work without faith. Maybe I should have taken a few moments alone with God and asked him why I was so restless that day? When we feel that compulsion to work longer and longer days, sometimes we should just shorten our workday and retire early. This may be the most diligent, obedient, and productive thing to do; "For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep" (v. 2c).

I worked for seventeen years as a missionary with Youth With A Mission. My missionary work has taken me to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain, and the Ukraine.I hold a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University. [email protected]

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