Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. Isaiah 49:4
“At last! The difficulty has ended!”
This was a co-servant’s exclamation after we finished each retreat or a recollection for college students. I understood him. Serving forty young people whose attention is not quite long on you when you are in front trying to contest their hearts. When you talk in front about God’s love, they talk to one another about themselves. When you prepare their food for their upcoming meal, something in you thinks if it is all worth it. You are spending your young life in wanting to bring them closer to Jesus yet your expected results seem to be impossible for now. You give them your all, they don’t give you anything except their idle time. You prepare well for this event, they don’t prepare their hearts. And it’s difficult to continue serving. Words are falling on deaf ears. Words are bouncing back from hard hearts.
No wonder, Isaiah confirms,” Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength…” You think your time spent bringing God’s words to his people is useless when they don’t respond. You think your actions of service are for nothing when the outcome is not like multiplication of the bread. You think your efforts in planning and operating the event is in vain when the end signifies your work is not finish.
But Isaiah did not stop at that point, he continues, “…Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.” The results, at the end of the event, are not you reward. The response of the participants is not your recompense. Your reward, your recompense is with your God. The gift of partaking is his work of evangelization or any ministry is an enough prize for us, who are lowly and unworthy servants serving the King of kings. Being with the presence of God…before, during and after the time of service is a complete benefit for us, who are called to join in his harvest.
The results, their response are not your rewards. Your recompense is with your God.