Confidence To Serve - A Series on Confidence, Part 13

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And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
— Acts 28:29-31

This is the second time I've written this devotion.  On the first draft, I was nearly ninety percent finished when my program decided to crash, erasing everything I had just written.  Love it when that happens, NOT!  The ironic--or more likely, God-ordained--thing is how well the frustration goes along with today's topic:  confidence in serving.

I will readily admit my first thought when I discovered I had lost the whole devotion was, Fine, I just won't do a devotion today.  I don't feel like it anyway.  Truthfully, I don't feel like it.  After a long week and weekend, I'm fighting a terrible chest cold passed on to me by my dear hubby (thanks a lot, Jason).  My head is aching and woozy.  My throat is scratchy and sore.  I really want to do nothing more than sleep and maybe watch television.  I don't want to work.  I don't want to think.  I don't want to serve.

But serving God goes far beyond what we want or what we feel like doing.  It is about following His will and answering His call on our lives.  It involves doing the work He's given us to do and doing it in the confidence that it will be worth the time and effort.  It may not always seem like it. Just ask the pastor who preaches every Sunday to a crowd who's more interested in what they're having for dinner or doing later in the day than they are in the message the pastor is preaching.  Ask the missionary who's been on the field for years and still hasn't seen a single salvation decision.  Ask the evangelist who travels around the country with little to his name other than the vehicle he drives and is often faced with more criticism than compliments.

Serving is difficult. . .especially when we don't see the fruit of our labor.  It's hard to keep planting seeds when we don't see anything growing.  Sometimes, it seems so pointless, and we find ourselves wondering why we're wasting our time.  We doubt whether our service really matters, whether we're really making a difference.

Fortunately, God addresses those doubts in His Word.  He reminds us that our job is to be faithful and to leave the results up to Him.  He assures us that any work done for Him will be rewarded.  He promises us that the work is not in vain, and in that assurance, we can keep serving.  No, we may not see the results of our efforts right now.  We may not even see them in our lifetime.  But that doesn't matter.  God is still working, and He has chosen to use us.  If we will be willing vessels, He will accomplish great things through us.  We have His Word on it!

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
— I Corinthians 15:58
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
— Isaiah 55:10-11

I don't understand why I had to lose my first draft of this devotion and be forced to start all over again, but I'm sure God had a reason.  Maybe He was testing me to see if I have confidence in serving.  Do I believe in what I'm doing?  Am I devoted enough to do His work that I will continue on even when the results aren't obvious?  I hope so.  

What about you?  Are you confident in your service to God?  Do you go about your day knowing in faith that your work matters?  Are you clinging to God's promise that your work is not in vain?

Oh, dear friends, some days the service is difficult, and we simply feel like giving in, but I encourage you, keep going.  Keep serving no matter what, and one day, you'll understand just how great a harvest you've sown.