Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for He grants sleep to those He loves. (Psalm 127:1-2)
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Have you ever looked back on something and felt as if it was all worthless? Like you worked, labored, or cared for something "so deeply" yet - in the end - it felt unprofitable and almost empty? Or perhaps it was a series of time that felt both purposeless and dry?
Whether a project at work, that class that you "had to" take last year, the job that you had (or still have) while trying to make ends meet, the past few weeks that felt never ending, or maybe your life now...feeling empty, purposeless, dry, and stuck.
The reality is that we have all experienced times where life - or a certain situation - felt just like that: empty and stuck.
But know this: Emptiness abounds only when God is not acknowledged.
In fact, Solomon writes: "Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
When things are "in vain" they are without worth, without purpose, and incomplete. So unless the LORD builds, all building is incomplete. And unless the LORD watches and protects, all protection is limited and worthless.
In a very bold way, the psalmist is telling us a few things: What we do, develop, work for, labor over - what we care for, produce, protect, shield, and watch over - is all worthless without the Lord's hand in it.
This is why Paul commands this to the Colossian church: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
Paul understood that eternal, righteous, and complete things come only from an eternal, righteous, and complete source. Without the acknowledgement of Jesus, our actions are empty and meaningless.
And though we have heard this concept often in the Christian community, I want us to take time and draw out a few connections.
You see, I believe that these "in vain" actions are what causes us to feel "in vain." What if the very situations - those very things - that bring you the feeling of emptiness and dryness are the exact things that you are doing without the Lord?
Think about it.
What if the reason that the past few weeks have felt empty is because you neglected to acknowledge the Lord in your "building" and in your "watching?" What if the reason your job feels meaningless is less about the job itself and more about your inability to do it "in the name of the Lord?" And what if your current feelings of being purposeless are due to your inability to recognize God calling you to rethink all that you are doing?
As I said before, our emptiness abounds only when God is not acknowledged.
It's a hard truth to hear, but we all must recognize our need to acknowledge God more and more. If we did, then we wouldn't feel the way that we do. We would live life in peace. We would experience God "grant[ing] sleep" to us even through the tough times.
So this is what I challenge you with today: Pinpoint those things that you would label as worthless in your life. I encourage you to allow God to work as you work; to acknowledge that God is real as you move about your day; and to do everything for Him, through Him, and with Him.
Thank you so much for joining us. We would love to know - what stood out to you in today's devotion? Feel free to let us know by commenting in today's Instagram post! (Find it at Instagram.com/DeclareGlory)
Greg, Declare Glory