Works and Labor
by Jean Martz
"I know thy works and thy labor." (Rev. 2:2)
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we are not saved by our good works, but as believers we are called to do good works. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:8-10)
Titus 2:7,14; 3:1,8,14 emphasizes:
- Pattern of good works
- Zealous to do good works
- Ready to do good works
- Maintain good works
Do good works to be fruitful. Good works are defined as deeds, actions, and accomplishments.
Matt. 5:16 says, "Let your light so shine before
men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." The Lord continues to show from the Word how good works are carried out. Acts 9:36 mentions Dorcas as being full of good works (sewing). I Cor. 9:7,8 speaks of giving as good works.
Titus 2:7,8,14 shows that our manner of life — holy living — the inner life of holiness resulting in the outward life of purity is a show of good works. Rom. 12:3-8 reminds us of the carrying out of our spiritual
gifts as good works. Paul notes especially the gift of helps (1 Cor. 12:28) as good works — eyes open, ears alert, and a heart warm with love and concern for others.
Then Prov. 31:31 relates the daily routine of the homemaker, wife and mother and calls forth the statement, "Her works praise her."
We must not underestimate the value of works after we become Christians. Good works are needful and necessary. But they take time — effort — sacrifice and strength. We
must pay the price. It means we might have to give up something that is rightfully ours, that is legitimate and that is precious to us in order to perform these good works.
The Word of God tells us why we should do good works:
- To glorify our Father — Matt. 5:16
- To witness to the unsaved — Titus 2:7,8
- To be fruitful — Titus 3:14
- To receive a reward — Gal. 6:9; 1 Cor. 15:58
Let us close with this encouragement from Jesus Himself as recorded in Rev. 2:2. Jesus said, "I know thy works. I know thy labor." Labor means to toil, to work, to suffer, to be weary, to have trouble, and it requires sacrifice. It takes labor to get the works done. For example, if you use your gift of helps to prepare that meal for a needy family, you labor, and you take your time to think of the menu. It takes effort to shop and prepare the meal. This becomes a good work — but you had to labor to perform the good work. Jesus says He is aware of the toil, the weariness, the trouble, the things you gave up to do the work.
"Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not." Gal. 6:9
"..be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." I Cor. 15:58.
"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor which ye have showed toward his name in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister." Heb. 6:10
What a blessing to work and labor for our Lord!