Devotional | Gene Carlsward | Sep 3, 2023

Laboring in Love with Purpose

Laboring in Love with Purpose

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. - Luke 10:2


This Labor Day, whether we find ourselves with a day off or not, my encouragement is to pause to reflect, commemorate, and celebrate the significance of our labor within the framework of our faith in Jesus Christ. Labor Day serves as more than just a mere break from our regular routines; if we are willing, we can use this day as an opportunity to dive deeper into the spiritual relationship with God, to reflect on the work he is doing through us, in us and for us, and recognize the inherent value and purpose it holds in our lives. 

Let’s start a new tradition together. Let us dedicate Labor Day to reflection and appreciation, acknowledging the blessings and challenges that accompany our labor while seeking inspiration from the example set by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us take this “holiday” to reflect on the significance of our labor in the light of God's Word. As I do so, preparing this devotion in prayer, I am filled with gratitude for each one of you who comes to mind and the impact you make through serving the Lord all throughout the church and community.

In Luke 10:2 (ESV), Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." These words remind us that there is much work to be done in the Kingdom of God. Our labor extends beyond our workplaces and into the fields of souls, where God desires to bring about a bountiful harvest.

In considering our labor, we often associate it with our jobs or careers. While our vocational work is important and worthy of honor, let us remember that our true calling is to be “Kingdom workers” for Christ. Personally, I find such great encouragement daily with Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV), where the apostle Paul writes, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Maybe consider writing this verse down on a few index cards, and leave each one in places you will see daily: on a mirror in your bathroom, on your refrigerator, in your car, on your phone’s wallpaper, anywhere. Let it encourage you and remind you of who we serve and why, in whatever we do!

This passage Paul writes reminds us that our labor, whether in the workplace, at home, or in the community, is an opportunity to serve the Lord. It is not merely about pleasing our employers or achieving personal success. Instead, we are called to work heartily, with dedication, knowing that we are ultimately serving our Lord Jesus Christ. Our work becomes an act of worship, an opportunity to display the love of Christ, and a gateway for sharing the good news of salvation with those around us.

So, as we engage in our various careers, jobs, and endeavors, let us remember our work has eternal significance. Every task, no matter how mundane it may seem, can be transformed into an act of service to God. Whether we are teachers, healthcare professionals, artists, entrepreneurs, or stay-at-home parents, let us approach our work with a sense of purpose and joy to serve the Lord. As we interact with our coworkers, neighbors, and friends, let us demonstrate the joy, peace, and hope that emanate from our relationship with Jesus. Our lives should exude the fragrance of Christ, drawing others to inquire about the source of our strength and the reason for our unwavering faith.

Imagine the impact we can have when we seize the moments that arise naturally in conversations, inviting others to experience the transforming power of Christ's love. Let us view Labor Day not only as a holiday but as a divine appointment to share the life-giving message of the Gospel with those who may be searching for hope and purpose in their own lives. Paraphrasing, but “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…pray earnestly to the Lord to send the laborers into his harvest…” I will be praying for you!

May the Lord bless you abundantly in your labor, and may you find fulfillment and purpose in all you do. Remember, you are not laboring in vain, for your work is valued and rewarded by our gracious and loving God.

In Christ's service together,

Gene Carlsward
Pastor of Community Outreach



We come before you today, our hearts filled with gratitude and reverence as we celebrate Labor Day. 

We lift up in prayer all those who engage in labor across our nation and around the world. We ask for your blessings upon the farmers who toil in the fields, the builders who construct our homes, the teachers who shape young minds, the healthcare workers who bring healing and comfort, the service providers who attend to our needs, and all those who contribute their unique talents and skills to the well-being of society. May their efforts be fruitful, their work be fulfilling, and their labor be dignified.

We also remember those who are unemployed or underemployed, who long for meaningful work and struggle to make ends meet. Grant them strength, perseverance, and opportunities to utilize their abilities and talents for the betterment of their lives and the community.

As a church family, we commit ourselves to be mindful of the impact our work has on others. Help us to be compassionate employers, supportive colleagues, and faithful stewards of the resources you have entrusted to us. May our labor be characterized by integrity, fairness, and a genuine concern for the well-being of those we serve.

In the midst of our daily toil, we acknowledge that true rest and renewal are found in you alone. As we conclude this Labor Day devotion, we seek your presence and guidance in our lives, both in our work and in our times of rest. Grant us the wisdom to find a healthy balance between our responsibilities and the need for rest, that we may honor you with our whole being.

We pray for the flourishing of our community, that all who labor may find their work fulfilling, their efforts rewarded, and their lives enriched. May we be a church that is centered on Christ, committed to live by faith, be a voice of hope, and be known by love in our workplaces, at home, in the community and at church, in all ways acknowledging you

Thank you, Father, for hearing our prayers. May the devotion we have offered on this Labor Day be pleasing to you. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord and Savior, we pray.


Gene's Recent Book Recommendations:

Both Center Church by Tim Keller and The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen can provide valuable insights to accompany your daily Bible reading by providing additional perspectives, practical guidance, and spiritual insights. They address different aspects of the Christian life and can deepen your understanding of faith, ministry, and personal growth. Here's a brief overview of each book:

Center Church is a comprehensive and practical guide to understanding and engaging with the Gospel in a rapidly changing world. Tim Keller, a well-known pastor and theologian, explores various aspects of Christian ministry and offers insights on how the church can effectively reach out to the surrounding culture with the message of Christ. The book delves into topics such as contextualization, cultural engagement, and the role of the church in society. It can be a valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand the significance of the Gospel in the contemporary context.

The Inner Voice of Love is a deeply personal and introspective work by Henri Nouwen, a renowned spiritual writer. It is a collection of reflections and meditations that Nouwen wrote during a period of intense personal struggle. The book offers profound insights into the nature of God's love and the human experience of pain, loneliness, and doubt. Nouwen's heartfelt reflections can provide solace, encouragement, and spiritual nourishment as you navigate your own faith journey.

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