After we ordered breakfast one morning, Stan reached into his pocket, pulled out a piece of paper, and handed it to me. “What’s this?” I asked.
“It’s a note I received in the mail yesterday,” Stan replied. “It’s from a fellow I used to get together with, just like you and I do. Go ahead and read it.” I did.
“I haven’t seen this fellow for several years,” Stan said. “We lost track of one another about a year after my wife and I moved here from our old town.
“But he sent you a note to let you know how he’s doing with his Christian faith walk,” I commented.
“He did,” Stan replied. “He went out of his way to find my address and drop me this note about how he’s doing. As you can see, he’s doing just fine.”
“Sounds to me like it’s more than doing ‘just fine’, I said. “Sounds like he’s doing well. That must make you feel good.”
“Sure does,” Stan replied. “Not for anything I’ve done on my own, but it feels good and it makes me thankful to have been allowed by God to be involved in what He wanted to do in this person’s life.”
Continuing, he added, “It’s kind of like what the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Philippi about not feeling that what he did was pointless. This note makes me feel that the time I spent with him was worthwhile. Not only for me, but for him, and certainly for God and His kingdom.”
“Yeah,” I said, “I can see that if you had never received this note you may never have known on this side of heaven what impact your time had with this person.”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “By this person going out of his way to send the note, I don’t have to wait until heaven to rejoice in what God did. I get to know now. And there’s something else that this note did.”
“It caused me to make a list of people who had an impact on my coming to faith, as well as those who helped my faith walk over the years. I know some of them have already boarded the train to glory, but I’m going to try to contact as many as I can to let them know the impact they’ve had.”
“That they did not labor in vain,” I commented.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. He then asked, “Is there anyone you should contact to let them know how you’re doing so they will know that what they did was worthwhile?”
Bible verses to consider:
Holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Philippians 2:16.
For I am confident of this very thing, the He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6.
. . . for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. Galatians 2:2.
I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. Galatians 4:11.
For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain. 1 Thessalonians 3:5.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the people you brought into my life, the people who labored so I would eventually come to faith. Because of them I have the assurance of spending eternity in your presence with it’s time. Thank you, too, for the people who have labored to help me grow in my faith walk so I am developing and ever-deepening personal relationship with you on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not go out of my way to tell those people what their labor has meant, not only for my eternal destination, but for my life here. Please, Father help me in telling everyone involved that they have not labored in vain. Help me follow your lead in encouraging them. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you come to faith? If no, why? If you are a Christian, it is likely because someone went of the way to bring you to the truth. Have you thanked that person? Have you let them know they did not labor in vain? The same questions concern those who have labored to help you grow ever closer to God on this side of eternity. Encourage them by letting them know they have not labored in vain.