Read Psalm 127:1-5
In vain. Unsuccessful. Ineffectual.
No one likes the thought of any of those words. Who wants to invest time that, in the end, is wasted? Who wants to expend energy that doesn’t count for something? Who wants to release resources for something that goes belly up? No one, of course.
“In vain!” Not one of us would want those words to describe our intentions or endeavors. Thankfully, the Psalmist did not want that for us either. Think about what he says in the first two verses.
- Unless the Lord shows up, your work is futile (v. 1)! You need to carefully evaluate your endeavors, don’t you?! You need to build where He is building. You need to watch what He is protecting. As you set goals and make plans, you must carefully and prayerfully think about the degree to which your priorities align with God’s. You must be careful to give yourself to those things that are important to Him and to the direction He is leading you.
- Because the Lord shows up, your rest can be sweet (v. 2)! Have you identified where God wants you to invest your time, energy, and resources? Once you have, you must be careful to not claim full responsibility for seeing the end product realized. If you do, you can find yourself kicking into workaholic mode! Up early and out late, you can begin to think, “This won’t get done unless I do it!” Instead, God wants to give you rest. And, sometimes to your surprise, He even works while you rest! That means you can work and rest dependently and expectantly.
So what can you expect when you operate according to these two principles? Well, the opposite of “in vain.” Try some of these words on for size: fruitful, successful, effective, worthwhile, meaningful. The hope of those adjectives is worth pursuing with God’s help!