LABOR OF LOVE
For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10 NKJV
Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and He will repay the lender.
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.
This is what the LORD says: “Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for the reward for your work will come, declares the LORD. Then your children will return from the land of the enemy.
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.”
And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
Cornelius stared at him in fear and asked, “What is it, Lord?” The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have ascended as a memorial offering before God.
Share with the saints who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem to serve the saints there.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
and continually recalling before our God and Father your work of faith, your labor of love, and your enduring hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gill: In that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister; in seeking both their temporal and spiritual good; and though all men in general are to be loved, yet especially the saints, who are set apart by God, whose sins are expiated by Christ, and who are sanctified by the Spirit; and love to them being laborious, and appearing in many instances, and this shown for the Lord’s sake, for his name’s sake, might lead the apostle more strongly to conclude better things of them, even things of a saving nature; since charity or love to the saints is better than gifts, and is the evidence of grace, of passing from death to life, and of being the disciples of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 13:1.
Matthew Henry Commentary
6:9,10 There are things that are never separated from salvation; things that show the person to be in a state of salvation, and which will end in eternal salvation. And the things that accompany salvation, are better things than ever any dissembler or apostate enjoyed. The works of love, done for the glory of Christ, or done to his saints for Christ’s sake, from time to time, as God gives occasion, are evident marks of a man’s salvation; and more sure tokens of saving grace given, than the enlightenings and tastings spoken of before. No love is to be reckoned as love, but working love; and no works are right works, which flow not from love to Christ.
Some say a ‘labor of love’ is one done for pleasure, not for work. That is true in one sense but not in another. We Christians are most fulfilled when doing what we do for God’s pleasure. When God is working thru us we are most fulfilled because our purpose is being employed. When His pleasure is our pleasure when we are at our pinnacle. What can be better than that?
Sometime laboring of love is hard because life can be hard. It doesn’t always seem ‘pleasurable’ yet we must persevere and look to the future, to look to the prize. I think that is what the passage is conveying. If we are wise, we will learn to embrace the pain. The disciples of Jesus did this when they were praising in prison and exulting in torture.
This is something that truly separates the men from the boys in regard to faith and progression of sanctification. I must admit, I have a long ways to go. Yet, a long journey begins by 1 step and is completed by just one more. It is impossible to out give God. He tests us here. It is the undergirding of this invisible principle and the truth He values our attitude and works enough to remember our works done because of Him and reward us in mind-boggling. After all, it is all His, to begin with. He is a sharing and blessing God. He no doubts multiplies His joy when we exercise our free will to glorify His most beautiful name. When we sow into the hard soil just because of Him. When there is no apparent hope of fruit on the surface but we do it anyway because it is the right and good thing to do, He loves that. He must reap immense joy and satisfaction when He works His wonders thru obedient ordinary people.
This doing good and giving first is a way of life the most successful employ. It isn’t confined to just Christians but it is certainly maximized by us. Why? Because of eternity. This is such a powerful principle in that it works wonders in the ‘here and now’ but also ‘into eternity’. Every religion, many a motivator, lots of secular authors teach this principle like ‘what goes around, comes around’, ‘karma’, and ‘givers gain’.
Yet, there is the 2nd level when we give because of love. When we give to those who can’t directly give to us in return. This is where God soars and only He can bless. When we labor in love, not because of our immediate gain but because that is who we are; because we are His. Then we are wonderfully connected in a most awesome way. In the way of love which is the way of God.
This verse prompts and encourages us that if we don’t see an immediate gain or growth by ‘labor of love’ due to whatever reason (the vacuum of sin, the distance of time, thieving by the devil) God see this and will NOT FORGET.
Heavenly Father, giver of all good gifts and every blessing, thank YOU! Help me to glean the teaching of Your Holy Book and tap into Your good and pleasing will by deep prayer. Help me to be heavenly minded. There is no such thing as being so heavenly minded that there is no earthly good. For if we hit heaven, we gain the good of the world with it. Prompt me to seek to serve and be the best steward possible.