Labor In The Lord

JDudgeon on July 16, 2023
Labor In The Lord
July 16, 2023

Labor In The Lord

Passage: Psalm 127
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Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard sermons on different categories of the psalms like the thanksgiving/history psalms, praise/hallel psalms, and lament psalms—so I thought I’d pick a wisdom psalm, specifically Psalm 127, which is a Song of Ascent of Solomon.

A Song of Ascents (Of Solomon)

The Songs of Ascents are a group of psalms (Psalm 120-134) that the people of Israel would’ve sung on the way up to Jerusalem (Psalm 122:4), since they were commanded by God to “ascend” the hill of Zion three times a year to remember and celebrate what God has done for them through certain feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16)—which is interesting because Psalm 127 is all about work/toil/labour, and the people of Israel would’ve had to pause their regular routines of work as they sung this psalm on their way to worship YHWH at the temple mount.

You might also notice that Psalm 127 is a song of ascents of Solomon—one of the only two psalms that is specifically attributed to Solomon in the whole Psalter (the other being Psalm 72). With the ambiguity surrounding the authorship of Psalm 72, many have wondered the same about Psalm 127: Did Solomon write this himself, or did his father David write it for him?

I could be corrected on this, but I have two reasons based on hints in our passage today that likely point to Solomon as the author—which will be helpful for us this morning in understanding the background of Psalm 127. First, this is a wisdom psalm that emphasizes the vanity of life without God—which is also emphasized in another wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes 2:) by its author (or the “Preacher”), who is widely accepted to be Solomon.

Second, the warning against labouring in vain makes more sense coming from Solomon, who was blessed by God to build the house of the Lord instead of his father David—which is the first big idea that Psalm 127 brings out: Without the Lord, Your Labour Is In Vain. And the first type of vain labour that Solomon identifies in verse 1 is: Building A House.

A. Without The Lord, Your Labour Is In Vain

I. Building A House (127:1a)

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

The first observations we need to make here are the two characters in action. The Lord who builds, and those who build (humans). Yet, if the Lord is not actively building, then the humans who are actively building anyway labour in vain. But the question is: how can one know if God is active so that his/her labour is not in vain? Let’s look at some examples in Scripture to answer this.

In Genesis 4, we hear about the first building recorded in Scripture, which was built by Cain’s son, Enoch (Gen. 4:17, not to be confused with Enoch who walked with God). However, the verse prior tells us that this was built after Cain killed Abel, who then “went away from the presence of the Lord and settled…east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16)— therefore, Enoch, as the first builder, laboured and built in vain.

Another example of vain labour, which some of you might've been thinking of already, is Babel in Genesis 11 when the people started to build a city and tower to make their name great, but the Lord didn’t let them finish and “dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city” (Gen. 11:8)—thus, the people laboured and built in vain.

Yet, a finished building can still be built in vain—think about Jesus’ teaching regarding the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The house was finished, and it even stood for a while, until “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27).

Beyond that, even finished buildings that stand for a long time can still be built in vain. Listen to the lament of the Preacher of Ecclesiastes as he describes the fleeting enjoyment of his labours in light of the reality of sickness and death:

“I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labours under the sun [including building houses, 2:4], because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything [because of sickness or death] to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 2:20-21).

This is getting really depressing, isn’t it? The point is: unless the Lord builds the house (both physically and metaphorically), those who build it labour in vain. Unless the builder looks to the heavens and humbly recognizes that the Lord who created the heavens and the earth is the one who is building the house, then he is building in vain.

Building shelter that is not founded on the Lord is, or will eventually be, rendered meaningless—and the same idea is applied to maintaining security, which is the second type of vain labour that Solomon identifies: Watching Over A City.

II. Watching Over A City (127:1b)

“Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”

In the Ancient Near East, most (if not all) cities were walled up to protect against enemy invasion (Deuteronomy 3:4-5; 2 Chronicles 14:7), and there were usually men at the highest point of the city to look out for enemies from afar (2 Samuel 18:24-27; 2 Kings 9:17-20).

These watchmen would obviously watch the city day and night (Isaiah 62:6), and they would responsible for sounding the trumpet to warn the city of incoming enemies (Ezekiel 33:6). Yet, Solomon asserts that watchmen who stay awake overnight labour in vain unless the Lord is watching over it.

The Lord is sovereign over the security of people whether in the day or through the night. Unless the watchman who looks downward to protect the city looks upwards and humbly relies on the Lord who never sleeps and watches over the city 24/7 to protect it, then he stays awake in vain.

Which is why Solomon says that these two types of vain labour, building a house for shelter and watching over a city for its security, results in our third sub-point: Eating The Bread Of Anxious Toil.

III. Eating The Bread Of Anxious Toil (127:2a)

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil.”

Now, rising up early is actually encouraged throughout Scripture in order to get important work done (Exodus 8:20; Job 1:5). Nor is going late to rest from a day’s work necessarily wrong or explicitly condemned in Scripture (although resting too much is).

And the natural implication of the progression here is that rising early or going late to rest due to hard work leads to the reward of eating bread, which is actually a command in scripture (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11).

So Solomon is not condemning any of these things individually, but rather, he is warning against the habitual pattern of rising up early and going late to rest in order to reap the reward and eat the bread of it—which Solomon describes as “anxious toil.”

This phrase “anxious toil” is quoted as “painful labours” in the NASB translation, which connects this idea back to Genesis 3 and the curse of sin on this fallen world: “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life…by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:17, 19).

So, Solomon understands that anxious toil and vain labour are results of the Fall, and that hard work and diligence is the means by which fallen man is to put bread on the table (Proverbs 12:11). But the anxious toil that Solomon is warning against here is man’s self-reliant labour that produces self-gratifying reward—whether it’s anxious toil in trying to make ends meet on your own, or anxious toil in trying to make your bank account explode on your own.

Have you met anyone like this? I have family and friends, unbelievers (and believers unfortunately), who do exactly this—restlessly and anxiously toiling day and night, working 12-16 hour days on the regular and missing family time, sleep, and (worst of all) time with the Lord and with his people) just to bear the fruit and reap the reward of their own labours.

These people are like builders that rise up early to get to work or watchmen that stay awake late into the night, who in their sleepless and restless toiling with their own two hands fail to recognize that their shelter in building a house, security in watching over a city, and sustenance from eating bread are all in vain without God.

With all that said, this is what eating the bread of anxious toil means: to place the fruit or reward of your own labours into your own hands and carry the weight of its success or failure instead of placing them in God’s hands or, as Piper words it, “letting him take the burden of final responsibility,” for whether the house gets built, the city is made secure, or the bread is set on the table.

So, Solomon switches gears to give God’s people reasons why they should stop anxiously toiling or labouring in vain and start placing its fruit into God’s hands in our second big idea: For He Gives To His Beloved. And the first gift that God gives to his beloved is Sleep.

B. For He Gives To His Beloved

I. Sleep (127:2b)

“For he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Can we just take a moment to let this sink in… nappers, rejoice! Maybe one application of this passage is to hang these words up in your bedroom (kidding)! But you might ask: why? Why does God choose to give to his beloved…sleep?

Well, let’s bring it all together: God graciously gives to those whom he loves the gift of sleep—so that, in light of verses 1-2, his beloved’s labours would not be in vain! God loves his people so much that he wants their labours to be truly fruitful and truly rewarding, which means that they need His gift of sleep to avoid eating the bread of their anxious toil.

Here’s the implication if this as well: to reap the fruit and reward of your own labours by eating the bread of your anxious toil from early mornings to late nights is to refuse this gift that God is giving to you. It’s like saying, “God, I am much more powerful than you’ve designed me to be, so I don’t need your gift of sleep.”

To be clear, the context of this passage speaks against those who refuse God’s gift of sleep due to human arrogance rather than those who struggle to receive God’s gift of sleep due to human limitations (like those who have sleep apnea or other conditions).

But the builder who rises up early and the watchman who stays awake and goes late to rest are anxious toilers who labour in vain day and night because they are literally refusing to receive the gift of God to his beloved! At the same time, in understanding that we should not refuse this gift, we also need to understand that we should not overuse this gift. Solomon warns against sleeping too much throughout the whole book of Proverbs (Proverbs 20:13, for one).

Now, I am not suggesting a limit or number of hours to sleep—because that varies depending on each person. But all I’ll say is this: only babies sleep for long and extended hours through the night, so adults should not be sleeping like babies (outside of a sleepless work week or maybe after sleepless nights due to parenthood).

But the emphasis of Psalm 127 is receiving the gift—so sleep! But not too much. Don’t refuse it, and don’t overuse it either—but receive it so you can restfully labour in dependence on God and avoid labouring in vain. With an appropriate balance and the right mindset, this becomes not the sluggard’s sin but the believer’s blessing!

As a young father, I wish I could go to back and preach this to my unmarried and childless self years ago. I used to say “sleep is for the weak” so that I could do all of these other things instead (there’s a diagnosis for that condition today, and it’s called FOMO). But now, I’d tell myself: “Josh, you are weak, so get to sleep.”

We cannot do everything as human beings, because we are weak beings. That’s just how God designed us to be. And guess who is strong when we are weak—God is. He says: “'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [your] weakness.’ Therefore I [Paul] will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When we sleep, it’s as if we say: “God, I am finite, and you are not. I am weak, but you are strong. So as I helplessly sleep in my weakness, would you powerfully work as you watch over me—and keep me safe until tomorrow comes because I know that he who keeps me “neither slumbers or sleeps” (Psalm 121:3-4). God never sleeps because he’s always working for his glory and for the good of his beloved (Romans 8:28).

In the NASB translation, it’s rendered: “For he gives to his beloved—even in his sleep.” Just think about when God put Adam to sleep. While the man was sleeping, God took one of his ribs and created the woman—to help the man work and keep the garden, so that both of his beloved image-bearers might flourish together as they do God’s work together (Genesis 2:21-23) by being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth in order to subdue and have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28).

Which no doubt Solomon would’ve had in mind when he transitions to the second gift that God gives to his beloved aside from sleep—that is, Sons.

II. Sons (127:3-5)

“Behold, children [sons] are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

The first observation we need to make here is one that would be less obvious if I didn’t title the heading this way. In other translations, this word “children” is translated as “sons.” This emphasis is quite important because of two reasons:

1) Sons make more sense contextually if we take the warfare imagery of verses 4-5 into account, and it would’ve quite literally been the sons with their father who would speak with their enemies in the gate, and 2) sons received primary rights to the family inheritance, which is why Solomon says that they are a heritage (or an inheritance).

The second observation here is that this heritage/inheritance is from the Lord—the fruit of the womb a reward [which now applies this to all children, both sons and daughters]. Listen to Jacob’s words when Esau asks him about his children: “‘Who are these with you?’ So [Jacob] said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant’” (Genesis 33:5).

Much like sleep, this a good gift that our good God graciously gives to his beloved. This is why we cheer and rejoice when children are in the womb—as we should, because they all come from the Lord! It is such good news when we hear about pregnancy announcements or baby showers in our church, and we need to rejoice with those who are expecting because we’re celebrating the Lord’s gift to his beloved!

However, there is an important implication here: if God chooses (out of his grace and goodness) to give any gift to his beloved, then God can choose (in his good and sovereign will) to withhold any gift to his beloved—and it doesn’t change the fact that they are God’s beloved.

Because the same beloved Jacob who confessed that God graciously gave him children also confesses that the same God sovereignly withheld from him children:

“Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die.’ Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” (Genesis 30:1-2).

This is why we sing Blessed Be Your Name: You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say—Lord, blessed be your name. We can’t demand a gift from God as if we deserve it—because we’re all sinners who don’t deserve any of His gracious gifts of grace. And not having the gift of children doesn’t mean one is less beloved, because God still gives his beloved good gifts—like sleep, for one. God is sovereign in his giving and withholding, and He is good regardless.

Yet, the question remains: how does God’s gift of children relate to verses 1-2 about labouring in vain? Well, let’s connect the dots: First, it is no coincidence that Solomon talks about children after talking about building a “house”, because God himself used this double meaning of “house” when David wanted to build him a physical house (temple), but God told David not to because God himself will build David a “house” (2 Samuel 7:11-12)—meaning, physical offspring starting with Solomon.

Second, if the building of a house can refer to physical offspring, then the Lord who gives the gift of children builds the “house” through the means of a husband and wife in a monogamous marriage who physically come together to build the house! Isn’t this beautiful?

Third, this means that labouring in vain and eating the bread of anxious toil in building a house of physical offspring is when parents to recognize that the Lord is the primary builder.

We can all probably say amen to this in concept, but I suspect that this can be a bit foggy in practice—so allow me to flesh this out for parents (especially the new and upcoming ones): Eating the bread of anxious toil as parents is when you you feel this sense of identity and security or superiority complex after you have built the house—simply by having a baby, whether that was after the pregnancy announcement or the birth and upbringing of your child.

And I point to myself the most here: When this Filipino/Mennonite halfbreed cutie-pie called Luca was born to Emily and I last May, there was this sneaky temptation to think: “Yes, we’ve done it! We’ve reached it.” Veteran parents, you know all about this sneaky temptation from Satan (and this applies to grandparents as well), so beware. This is exactly what Solomon guards against—unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.

Parents, this means that remember that your children are a gift from the Lord—so treat them like a gift that you don’t deserve as opposed to your greatest accomplishment in life that you carry around to show everyone. Yes, enjoy God’s reward, but not so much that you confuse the gift with the Giver. Rejoice that your children might look like you (Emily and I are still at tension regarding Luca, but that’s ok), because our job is to make them look less like us and more like Christ.

Not only does the gift of children connect to building a house, but also with the security that comes from watching over a city in verse 4:

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

While arrows were used for war, the context of this passage uses it as a metaphor for protection and peace when Solomon likens the children of one’s youth to those who help defend the city from its enemies in the gate, where negotiations were usually held (Genesis 23:10). Notice that there’s a progression here—in verse 3, the fruit of the womb suggests newly born or young children in general.

But now, the children of one’s youth implies that the father is older and that his sons are older—since they have been raised up to be able to speak with their enemies at the gate with their father, who will not be intimidated and put to shame because of his arrow-like children. For this reason, the father is blessed—because he has a full quiver of protection that he’s raised against his enemies in the gate!

Yet, while the arrow imagery suggests this, how do children literally help protect their father and city from their enemies in the gate?

Well, the simple answer is this: a full quiver means that they would outnumber their enemies because there are lots of them (this is a very serious passage for our Mennonite friends)! All jokes aside, however, we need to pause here because this verse has been abused many times—as if God were commanding every parent today to have at least a dozen children or more.

Under the Old Covenant, obedience was tied to blessings, which included children: “If you obey the voice of the Lord your God…blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb” (Deuteronomy 28:3-4). So, many children meant many blessings—which also connects back to Genesis 1:28 (be fruitful and multiply).

However, under the New Covenant in Christ, being fruitful and multiplying has a much bigger scope than just having physical children—because the blessing is Christ, and believers are blessed in Christ by being adopted to God as sons through him, the Beloved Son (Ephesians 1:5-6). This means that we pass on this blessing today to spiritual children in the faith (Matthew 28:19)!

For instance, Paul talked about how he became a father to Onesimus, his child (Philemon 10). In fact, Paul tells the Thessalonians that he became to them “like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7) for the sake of the gospel.

And not to mention that Paul was single and celibate and wished that people would be as he was (1 Cor. 7:7). So, the blessing of a full quiver today includes not just physical children but also spiritual ones, which unmarried people or married people who are childless can have lots of!

Much like sleep, please do not hear me advocating for a specific number of physical children here (in all honesty, I wanted 3-4 kids maximum and Emily wanted a 12-15 minimum)—because a full quiver doesn’t specify a number.

Charles Spurgeon wisely says: “A quiver may be small and yet full; and then the blessing is obtained. In any case we may be sure that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of children that he possesseth.”

But in our understanding of its original meaning in Psalm 127, yes—a full quiver meant lots of babies and sons who would grow up and help defend the city’s enemies in the gate with their blessed father.

In fact, a full quiver likely also implies that the father’s children would go on to build a house later on (the children’s children) and eventually defend a whole city (the children and their families).


So we’ve seen that building a house for shelter or watching over a city for its security is vain labour without the Lord, and the result of that is eating the bread of anxious toil—which is placing the pressure and responsibility on one’s own hands instead of placing it in God’s hands who is truly at work.

And the reasons to stop labouring in vain is because the Lord gives to his beloved the gifts of sleep and sons/children to remind them of who is truly at work in building the house and watching over the city.

C. God’s Work In Christ Was Not In Vain

As Solomon wrote this psalm, he knew that God was at work in building the house as he promised his father, David. Even though he built the house of the Lord instead of David (who would’ve built it in vain if he did since God didn’t bless it), Solomon also knew that he would’ve built it in vain himself—unless God was building the house himself. That is, a royal house of physical offspring from whom the Son of David would come from [not Solomon, but Jesus Christ].

And God showed his power “that he worked in Christ when He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand… [so that he might] put all things under his feet and give him as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:20, 22)—the spiritual house that God is building on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with His Son as the cornerstone, and the Father will not be put to shame by his enemies in the gate because the gates of hell cannot prevail against his firstborn Son and his other adopted sons through Christ.

This is why the apostle Paul talks about how God raised Jesus from the dead in 1 Corinthians 15, when he says that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching [of Christ] is vain and your faith [as believers] is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). But throughout the whole chapter, Paul preaches Christ and how God did raise him from the dead, which is why he confidently says:

“His grace toward me was not in vain [because of his work in raising Christ from the dead. Because of that], I worked [laboured] harder than any of [the apostles]—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

Maybe you haven’t received Christ this morning—so unbeliever, would you stop living and labouring in vain and believe in Christ who laboured on the cross for you so that you might be raised up to life with him on the last day?

Or maybe you have believed but are straying away like sheep—so prodigal, would you stop eating the bread of your anxious toil and return to the Father who wants to bring you back to himself and protect you by watching over you “as the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul” (1 Peter 2:25)?

None of us can live and labour on our own, because God has given us the gift of His Son who gives eternal life—the true reward in Christ who is bringing many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). And God has gifted us a true and eternal rest in Christ (much more pleasant than temporary sleep) who sustains us and takes the load and pressure off our anxious toil when he says:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).

We as believers have a part to play and a yoke to take in Christ, so here’s our application point: Our Labour In The Lord Today.

D. Our Labour In The Lord Today

I. Stop Eating The Bread of Anxious Toil

Whether a believer or unbeliever, the temptation of eating the bread of our anxious toil and placing the fruit of our own labours in our own hands is all around us. Think about it: people graduate high school and work towards their college degrees to have their names stamped on it. Or they might their own business with their own names on it, or work their way up in their workplaces for a long time so their names hold a position of seniority. I could give many more examples, but here’s the point:

Not that your physical name being known by the world is wrong, but it’s when the fruit of your labours get to your head and you start thinking: “This is my degree. My job. My business. My house. My kids. I did this and I did that.” You might build a house (whatever that is), and you might be the kings and queens of it and maybe even enjoy it for a really long time—but if it was done without the Lord, then it will fall someday or somehow, if not immediately. Instead, you ought to say, “God did this, or this is God’s money or God’s kids.”

This also applies to the things we do for the Lord as well, quote in quote “ministry.” You might serve on a Sunday morning team or be busy during the week doing ministry in your community—you might even work at a church or a Bible college or a Bible camp—but unless you entrust your labour and its fruit to the Lord—then your work is still in vain.

You cannot carry the weight of your labour’s success or failure, so stop eating the bread of your anxious toil and place the fruit of your labours in the Lord’s hand so that it might bear real and eternal fruit. Stop doing everything for your name and start doing everything in Jesus’ name (Colossians 3:17). Stop eating the bread of anxious toil, and instead: Restfully Labour In The Lord.

II. Restfully Labour In The Lord

I want to emphasize that first word—restfully. Because Psalm 127 tells us that God gives to his beloved the gift of sleep, so that we can depend on him for tomorrow as he bears the fruit of our labours yesterday so that they won’t be in vain. So beloved, would you receive the gift of sleep this morning?

Maybe you had a long day of anxious toil yesterday or this week—would you receive it this afternoon as you nap in humility towards the Lord, or maybe go to bed earlier tonight (whatever the appropriate time is for you) so you can appropriately rest and start developing habits of godly rest moving forward?

And remember that not receiving God’s gift of sleep in humility is to simply refuse it in arrogance. Don’t refuse it, and don’t overuse it either—but receive it so you can restfully labour in dependence on God and avoid labouring in vain.

The second part is this: labour in the Lord (which is what the title of this sermon is).

No matter what our labours are—be it physical jobs or ministry service or housework (even the seemingly insignificant ones like doing dishes or mowing the lawn)—all of that cannot be done without the Lord. The labour of the Christian must be labour for the Lord and in the Lord (Colossians 3:23). And it must be restful labour rather than anxious toil.

Let me give you a New Testament example of restful labour versus anxious toil. In Luke 10, when Martha welcomed Jesus into her house, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching while leaving Martha:

“And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving [housework and hospitality]. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion [Jesus himself], which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:39-42).

Mary wasn’t being lazy, nor was Martha wrong in being hospitable (since Christians are commanded to be hospitable, especially to travelling teachers). But Mary understood that unless she received the Bread of Life, her labour in serving bread to Jesus himself would be in vain—thus, she was restfully labouring in the Lord. And Jesus lovingly helps Martha understand that without the Lord, she was anxiously toiling in vain.

This reminder is for us today. You might be busy working 50-60 hour weeks and maybe active in ministry but are neglecting sleep by masking diligence with distrust in the Lord and potentially your home (maybe neglecting to raise up your physical children in the Lord if you’re parents, like the blessed father does in Psalm 127).

Or you might be busy working 30-40 hour weeks and busy with housework with appropriate rest but neglect to labour in the Lord with your church/community and raising up spiritual children in the Lord.

Enough with the “I’m busy” language—anyone can be busy with different things, but are you being busy with the labour of the Lord regardless of your vocation? And if so, are you anxiously toiling in vain or restfully labouring in the Lord?

Be honest with yourself, and ask the Lord for wisdom—whichever extreme you’re on. The measuring stick of being busy isn’t always helpful—so we need a biblical balance in our labours. We need to stop eating the bread of anxious toil and restfully labour in the Lord.

And when we restfully labour in the Lord, we can know with confidence that in the Lord—your labour is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). And as we restfully labour in the Lord, our slothful ease in the work of Lord is rebuked—that’s from the song Facing A Task Unfinished, which we’re gonna sing in response to this. Think of Psalm 127 as you restfully and joyfully sing these lyrics:

O Father who sustained them, O Spirit who inspired

Saviour whose love constrained them, to toil with zeal untired

From cowardice defend us, from lethargy awake

Forth on Thine errands send us, to labour for Thy sake.

So let’s remember that without the Lord, our labor is in vain—whether it’s building a house or watching over a city. So let’s stop eating the bread of anxious toil, and receive the gifts of sleep and sons as we restfully labour in the Lord—knowing that our labour is not in vain.