Labor That is Not in Vain

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Another Sunday school year is upon us. For those of us involved in children’s and youth ministry, we have another season filled with opportunities and responsibilities to teach the next generation the glorious deeds of the Lord. Yes, this is joyful ministry—at least it should be—but when done with the diligence it deserves, it is also hard work. Here is a great reminder from Jerry Bridges:

A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates—all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside of himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God.

Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season.

(“The Pursuit of Holiness,” copyright©1996, p. 9)

Do you hope to see the students in your care grow in their knowledge of the Lord? Do you long to see them come to true saving faith through the Gospel? Is it your desire that they grow in love and obedience to Jesus? Then be ready to labor diligently! Plow, sow, fertilize, and cultivate. How?

  • Spend time during the week preparing the lesson—study, meditate, pray, and apply the truths to your own heart.
  • Pray daily for the students to whom you minister.
  • Enter the classroom well prepared.
  • Take time to get know your students—their likes, temperaments, joys, and challenges.
  • Display to them the love, kindness, firmness, and patience of Jesus.
  • Make a significant effort to connect with the parents or your students.
  • Pray that God would be at work bringing about spiritual life and growth.

Yes, this kind of farming is hard work. But as Paul reminds us:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV)

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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