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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : I HAVE LABORED in VAIN by David Wilkerson

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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 I HAVE LABORED in VAIN by David Wilkerson

Would it shock you to know that Jesus experienced the feeling of
having accomplished little?

In Isaiah 49:4 we read these words: "Then I said, I have labored in
vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain". Note that
these are not the words of Isaiah, who was called by God at a
mature age. No, they are Christ's own words, spoken by One
"called from the womb; from the body of my mother. The Lord
formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again
to him, (and to gather Israel)" (49:1, 5).

When I came upon this passage, one that I'd read many times
before, my heart was in wonder. I could hardly believe what I was
reading. Jesus' words here about "laboring in vain" were a response
to the Father who had just declared, "Thou art my servant in whom
I will be glorified" (49:3). We read Jesus' surprising response in the
next verse: "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for
nought" (49:4).

After reading this, I stood to my feet in my study and said, "How
wonderful. I can hardly believe that Christ was this vulnerable,
confessing to the Father that he was experiencing what we humans
face. In his humanity, he tasted the same discouragement, the
same despondency, the same woundedness. He was having the
same thoughts I've had about my own life: "This isn't what I
perceived was promised. I wasted my strength. It has all been in
vain."

Reading those words made me love Jesus all the more. I realized
Hebrews 4:15 is not just a cliche - our Savior truly is touched with
the feelings of our infirmities, and was tempted in all ways as we
are, yet without sin. He'd known this very same temptation from
Satan, hearing the same accusing voice: "Your mission is not
accomplished. Your life has been a failure. You've got nothing to
show for all your labors."

Christ came into the world to fulfill the will of God by reviving Israel.
And he did just as he was commanded. But Israel rejected him:
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11).

Why would Jesus, or any man or woman of God, speak such
despairing words as these: "I have labored in vain"? How could the
Son of God make such a statement? And why have generations
of faithful believers been reduced to such despondent words? It is
all the result of measuring little results against high expectations.

You may think, "This message sounds like it applies just to
ministers, or to those called to do some great work for God. I can
see it being meant for missionaries or the Bible prophets. But what
does it have to do with me?" The truth is, we're all called to one
grand, common purpose, and to one ministry: that is, to be like
Jesus. We are called to grow in his likeness, to be changed into
his express image.


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