Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Labor That's Not In Vain

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

We can’t help it.

We live in a culture that applauds the loud, the successful, and the most known. And even though we are writers, and most of us prefer obscurity, it still would be nice to know if our writing affected someone for the good—actually, a lot of someones. Who doesn’t dream of being a best-seller?

Bloggers are taught the importance of consistency. Day in and day out they compose posts for their tribe no matter how small the number of followers or comments. We blog because we are compelled (and Edie Melson has proven the results of hard work and consistency.) But we might write for years with little feedback or growth in our e-mail list.

And we want to cry out, “Helloooooooo . . . is anybody out there?”

In my experience, the silence seemed to loom larger after my books were published. I did receive warm fuzzies and reviews, but compared to the numbers of books sold, it’s like a drop in the bucket. The silence can be deafening.

And we question.

Why am I doing this?

Is it making a difference?

Here’s the answer straight from the Word of God:

Paul wrote, Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor 15:58).

The word vain was translated from kenoo which means empty, vain, ineffective, useless, and hollow.

There are many days when my writing and teaching feel ineffective and useless. But according to Paul’s exhortation, I need to pick my chin up, and trust the truth over my feelings. I must stand firm in my faith and my calling because Paul promised that my work for Jesus is never empty or useless or ineffective.


Because it’s about Jesus.

It’s about the ministry of reconciliation, life everlasting, being made whole by the blood of Christ. We labor to draw people closer to Jesus. I labor to help people discover the life inside the Bible. Is there anything more valuable than pointing people to eternity?

Be encouraged by these words from Isaiah:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  -Isaiah 55:9-11

Can we trust God with the results of our labor for Him?


So, take courage. Stand firm. Keep working hard for the Lord.

Our words are producing a harvest we cannot see.


Andy Lee is a Bible teacher, blogger, and author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood, 2016) and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG Publishers). Visit her site, where Andy digs deep to live fully and join her daily with hundreds of viewers on her Bite of Bread Facebook Live broadcast at 8:20 AM ET to start your day in the Word.


  1. Thank you for this post. I've determined to be faithful and leave the results with Him -even those I don't see or hear about.

  2. Timely words, Andy. Thank you for this. I have been feeling discouraged lately. I need to rember that eternal value isn't somrthing that can be seen, heard, or measured this side of glory.

  3. Timely and useful post, Andy. See? You are making a difference.

  4. This is one of a very tiny handful of blogs I follow, and wow, it brings me to tears, convicts me, encourages me on a regular basis. Every post does matter. God speaks through his people. Keep it up! <3

  5. Thanks. I needed this reminder.

    Blessings and hope for today.

  6. Absolutely, spot on. Thank you.

  7. Thank you! It is so easy to get discouraged and think that what we are risking (time, heart, vulnerability, open book policy) is not worth the gain. I have really been questoning how to approach these things in my own life. It is easy to draw back in moments when we feel ineffective but I think that is the ploy of the enemy. Right? I keep thinking back to my first Conference with Blue Ridge and the message that God left me with. I heard him speaking right to my heart and saying "I need and want you to be an open book, Laura." It can be really hard to know how to go about that. I feel as though I fail him or come shy of success ALL the time. Is anyone hearing my testimony? Is it making a difference? Am I whispering instead of speaking boldly? Am I risking all of this for nothing? Am I like a resounding clung of noise that is being ignored rather than heard? Knowing where to draw the boundary lines is not easy AT ALL but giving in and giving up is defeat from the moment we chose it. So, thank you for inspiring me again to step out and risk one more time. ;) Our words do matter!!
    Laura ~

  8. What a great post. Thank you for the encouragement.