Life is hard work if it’s done well. Good relationships are costly but worth it. But it’s doing things for the right reason that turns mere drudgery into a labor of love.
Henry Van Dyke wrote: “Time is Too Slow for those who Wait, Too Swift for those who Fear, Too Long for those who Grieve, Too Short for those who Rejoice; But for those who Love, Time is not.” So it seemed with Jacob. For seven long years he had toiled under the hot Middle Eastern sun for his uncle Laban. Why was he doing this? To win the hand of Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel. In fact, we read, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her” (Gen 29:20). Allow me to pause for a moment to apply this to our hearts as believers. Is our service for the Lord motivated by such love and loyalty? If not, it will be a hard slog indeed. Of the Ephesian church, Jesus observed: “I know your works, your labor, your patience (or endurance)” (Rev 2:2). But of the Thessalonian church, Paul writes, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3). Oh, what a difference! Is the Christian work you do just drudgery, or is it a work of faith? Is it merely hard exertion, or a labor of love? Are you just hanging in there, slaving away, or is it the enduring patience of hope? Dear believer, it may be you have the same problem the assembly at Ephesus had: “Nevertheless I have this against you,” said the Savior to them—and to us—“you have left your first love” (Rev 2:4). Notice, their first love was not lost, but left. Conscious choices are made that take us away from Him to other loves. But today can be a new beginning if, as He proposes, we “Remember…repent and do the first works” (v 5). If we do this, like Jacob, our time of service will seem only a few days because we are impelled by love to Christ.