IS THERE ANYTHING TO REAP FOR LABOR ON EARTH?
“Cursed is the ground…in sorrow you shall eat of it all the days of your life…until you return to it, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 2:7, 3:17-19).
No one can escape the fate of death as it etches vanity over the whole creation of man & across his labors (Ps. 49:6-14, 17, 19; Rom. 8:20-21; Eccl. 9:2). Dust returns to dust. Spirit returns to God the giver (Eccl. 3:20, 12:7). Death has been man’s fate since the fall (Gen. 3:19, Rom. 5:12).
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” —The Preacher— Eccl. 1:2, 12:8.
The only remedy to alter the death sentence proclaimed on every man comes through the work of another—Jesus Christ. Eternal life is a gift of God. Man cannot work for it or earn it. He must just receive it (Rom. 5:17, 6:23; Eph. 2:4-9). When he does it changes everything. It changes him into a new creation with a preordained purpose on earth with ‘profitable’ good works to walk in as well as citizenship in a heavenly home to place his hope in (Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 3:20-21).
Many farmers rely on a man-made reference book that’s published annually called the Farmer’s Almanac which contains weather forecasts, tide tables, planting charts etc. to help guide them.
God has provided a superior guide book to man (that’s timeless & 100% accurate). It contains forecasts, wisdom… everything to thoroughly equip him/her to live a godly life (2 Tim. 3:15-17). In order for the instruction to be profitable it must be diligently studied, understood and rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). As an added bonus, God rewards those that diligently seek Him so one would be wise to know & understand what God has provided in this book & live accordingly (Heb. 11:6).
That brings us to what IS profitable under the sun—
Ecclesiastes 7:11 says “Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun (are alive)”.
The wisdom of course that’s spoken of doesn’t emanate from man. Proverb 1:7 says, “The fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning (just a start) of knowledge.” True wisdom is to justify God and condemn oneself. ALL LABOR IS IN VAIN WITHOUT THE LORD (Ps. 127:1-2). In the Parable of the Sower, the only seed that bears fruit is the one who hears the word & understands it (Matt. 13:23).
DON’T BE DECEIVED, GOD IS NOT MOCKED: FOR WHATEVER A MAN SOWS HE’LL REAP (Gal. 6:7-9, Col. 3:25).
I don’t think many of us would work on a project for hours and days knowing that it would be erased shortly after it was completed. Nor would a farmer spend hours and days in his field plowing and sowing seeds that would end up with nothing to show for it. As good as this life may get, it’s the life to come that matters most. ALL LABOR IS PROFITLESS WHICH DOESN’T YIELD TREASURE IN HEAVEN. Riches don’t profit in the day of wrath (Prov. 11:4). Treasures that are stored on earth are temporary (Matt. 6:19-21). To toil merely for food that perishes, clothes that wear out, riches that disappear and a heart that’s set on the results only in this life is all vanity. Anything man decides to achieve for its own sake will find vanity & vexation of spirit. We brought nothing into this world & it’s certain we won’t be carrying anything out (1 Tim. 6:7). With death vanishes all the earthly gains of life. Our days in this life are short compared with eternity (Ps. 39:4-5, 90:10, 144:4, 1 Peter 1:24-25) so wouldn’t it be wise to invest in things that will be profitable not only in this life, but in the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8)?
Check out the comparisons & decide for yourself:
PROFITABLE=fruitful; It’s of the Spirit with a new nature guided by God.
INTENT: To please the Lord and walk worthy—trusting in Him fully with the heart, obeying His Word; laboring heartily unto Him (Prov. 3:5-7, 2 Tim. 3:15-17, 2:15; Col. 3:23).
CHARACTER TRAITS: Operates from a transformed mind that’s renewed after its Creator, able to discern the good & acceptable will of God so as to work out what God has worked in (Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:10; Phil. 2:12-14); stays strengthened in Christ (Eph. 6:10, 13), citizenship is in heaven with a mindset on things above (Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3).
RESULTS: Displays the fruit of the Spirit, bearing it in every good work & increasing in the knowledge of God (Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12-14, 1:9-10; Eph. 1:17-18); Reaps life everlasting (Gal. 6:8); appears with Christ in glory (Phil. 3:20).
UNPROFITABLE=unfruitful; It’s of the flesh, the old nature guided by the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
INTENT: Prideful, pleasing self and man; denies his Creator, rather trusts in his/her own understanding and ways (Ps. 14:1; Rom. 1:21-23)
CHARACTER TRAITS: Operates from a corrupt, deluded & debased mind, conformed to the world, influenced by the father of lies (Rom. 1:28-32, 13:12-13; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8); a mind set on earthly things; enemy of the cross of Christ; lover of worldly things that pass away (1 Jn. 2:15-17; Matt. 6:19; Phil. 3:19).
RESULTS: Unprofitable (John 6:63); Displays dead works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21); reaps vanity (Prov. 22:8); reaps ruin (Gal. 6:8); glory is their shame and end is destruction (Phil. 3:19).
What will it be? Spending the days on earth getting to know & putting into practice the profitable spiritual things of God? Or enjoying the here & now with no thought for tomorrow as the grasshopper chose in Prov. 6:6-11? Wise or unwise? The wise will make the most of every opportunity in these evil days, knowing that their labor is not in vain in the Lord and in due season will reap bountifully (Eph. 5:15-17, Col. 4:5, 1 Cor. 15:58, Gal. 6:9).