The world loves to tell homemakers that our labor is in vain. It can be difficult to endure in our calling, and perform our daily tasks with joy, when many would consider our work meaningless, boring, or a waste of time. As followers of King Jesus we know this isn’t true, although it can often feel true when we’re in the midst of preparing yet another meal, wiping up another spill, or folding another load of laundry.
When I was in full-time campus ministry, 2 Timothy 2 was my battle cry. The call to entrust the gospel to those who would faithfully pass it on to the next generation is a magnificently high one (v.2). Paul exhorts Timothy to share in the sufferings of Jesus (v.3), resolving to please God alone, like a good soldier (v.4), living in obedience to His Word, like a competing athlete (v.5), and working hard, like a farmer, with hope of a great reward (v.6).
As I spent time reading this chapter a few days ago, I realized how much I needed to hear this, and how much it applies to our daily work in the home. Just like the teacher, soldier, athlete, and farmer, we are called to perform our (often mundane) tasks with faithfulness, obedience, and hard work, seeking to please God alone. This often includes sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and regularly fighting against the lies the world, our flesh, and the devil tell us.
So, this is all well and good, but what is my motivation to persevere? How do I keep going when my body is tired, and my heart wants to quit?
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…” (v.8)
As believers, our lives are staked on the fact that Jesus is alive. We live because He lives. Without the resurrection, our faith has absolutely no meaning, and our labor is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:13-15). Sweet sister, remember the truths of the gospel, which is centered on Jesus, our risen King!
As we labor in our homes, we must be strengthened by the grace that is found only in Christ Jesus (v.1). We persevere, in spite of hardship, for the sake of the gospel. Moms, your work echoes in eternity when you faithfully entrust the gospel to your children, day after day and year after year. There is eternal significance when you lovingly serve your husband, and care for your home with integrity and hard work, seeking the pleasure of God above all others.
We do not labor in vain, nor do we labor for visible fruit in this life, or what the world would consider success (although we are sometimes blessed to see fruit). We labor for a greater reward, one that far outlasts this fleeting life.
Remember Jesus Christ. Remember how He was raised from the dead. Remember His perfect example as the faithful teacher, God-pleasing soldier, obedient athlete, and hard-working farmer. Be strengthened by the grace of Christ as you work in your homes and faithfully fulfill your calling.
Your labor is not in vain.