United Church of God

Letter From William Bradford - September 8, 2023

Letter From William Bradford

September 8, 2023

We Do Not Labor in Vain

During the Feast of Tabernacles, the religious Jewish community reads the book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, in which he ponders the purpose of our labor. 

What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:3, NKJV)

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon declares everything to be "vanity of vanities" or "meaningless! meaningless!" as he ponders the futility of labor when life continually passes from one generation to the next.

Solomon experienced abundant wealth and pleasures, yet he questioned the meaning of all his labor. Is it all meaningless? During The Feast of Tabernacles, we follow God's instructions and enjoy abundance from our labor. As we stay in temporary dwellings, we are reminded that not everything is meaningless when we labor in the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 15:49, Paul explains that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Instead, spiritual bodies that will bear the image of the heavenly man (Christ) will inherit the kingdom of God. After this, Paul emphasizes that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58, NKJV)

As opposed to Solomon, who questioned the purpose of his physical labor, we are reminded and encouraged during the Feast that our labor in the Lord has a purpose and is not meaningless. Let's comprehend this purpose and understand how we work for the Lord by examining 2 Peter chapter 1.

As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4, NKJV)

God has called us to be partakers of His own nature. Peter later explains in 2 Peter 1:11 that an entrance will be supplied to us into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons why we labor in the Lord. Peter provides insight into how we can be diligent in our labor for the Lord.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5-7, NKJV)

We grow in our relationship with the Lord by adding to our faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

This Feast, we will follow God's command to rejoice in the physical blessings.

Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.  (Duet 16:15, NKJV)

As we celebrate the Feast this year and give thanks for the blessings God has bestowed upon us through our physical work, let us also reflect on our diligent labor in the Lord. May we remain steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in our work, for it holds eternal meaning and purpose.

Our labor is not in vain in the Lord!

Have a very spiritually enriching Sabbath, and as Peter writes, may grace and peace to you be multiplied.