“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV).
Friend to Friend
The origins of this one-sentence prayer came during the first few days of quarantine as the world grappled with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Only a few weeks before the country shut down, my mom, my sister and I had said our final goodbyes to my dad.
By God’s grace, we were able to be with my dad during his last days on earth and, in the days that followed his passing, mourn together with others who loved him. The shutdown, however, brought unique challenges. Busyness can sometimes help us move on, but there was no busyness to be found.
My mom, in particular, found herself alone in the home where she had lived with and loved my dad for so many years. That is when she told me about a prayer she would say each day, God, what do You want me to do today?
While it served my mom well during the very quiet days of quarantine, I’ve found that this question can also be a blessing during days so full of demands that you wake up overwhelmed.
You know what I mean, those days that, before you even raise your head off of the pillow, you feel tired. The mornings when, with the first parting of your eyelids, demands slap you in the face. The days where you know, from your very first waking minute, you could never possibly get everything done that you need to get done on that day. Those days.
But when we start days like that with this simple question, “God, what do You want me to do today?”, we can change the way we approach them. Instead of feeling frustrated, tired and overwhelmed, we can walk each day, one step at a time, investing in the assignment right in front of us and trusting that God will take care of the rest.
Today’s Truth reminds us our labor for the Lord is not a waste of time, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV).
Because we know our labor for the Lord is not in vain, we can allow the time limits of life to move us to faithful obedience.
We can allow time limits to let priorities rise to the surface. With just a few minutes or hours to work with, we take care of the most important things. Everything else takes its place as less important, and we focus on what really matters. We’re no longer distracted by our list of things to do. We’re singularly focused on the one thing that matters most.
We can allow time limits to free us. Where you find time limits, you’ll often find clear boundaries as well. We’re more likely to guard our time and effort when we acknowledge it’s not a renewable resource.
Finally, we can allow time limits to motivate us. When we acknowledge we’re short on time, we tend to get more done. Whether it’s a project we’ve put off for months or the assignment we pushed to the end of the day, time limits can motivate us to do that thing we’ve been putting off.
I love how the Amplified Bible translates the last phrase of Today’s Truth. It says, “being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].”
We don’t have to run frantically from one thing to the next, feeling defeated and overwhelmed. Yes, the work of the Lord can be exhausting, but when we ask God, “What do You want me to do today?”, we can rejoice because our labor for Him is not futile, never wasted and never without purpose.
What is overwhelming you today?
Dear God, what do You want me to do today? Give me wisdom to release the things that I need to give to You. Help me trust You to do what I cannot do. Help me run with endurance to accomplish Your purposes for this day.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Take a short inventory of the things you spend your life in turmoil over. Is there anything on that list you would call futile or vain? Bring your list to God in prayer and ask Him to rearrange it to match His direction.
More from the Girlfriends
Fear of the future can often fuel our feelings of being overwhelmed. Katy would love to give you a free resource of 7 Prayers to Help You Smile without Fear. Click here to receive this free download.
© 2022 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.