"I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted."
What a disheartening phrase! I hope that Paul's complaint regarding the Galatians is just his human side showing. Surely he cannot believe that, deep down, his work in the name of Jesus among the people of Galatia was all for nought!
But then how often has this thought crossed our mind (and my mind)?
Way back at the turn of the Millennium, I worked for a startup company for four-and-a-half years, and in the spring of 2001, the company filed bankruptcy and laid off the vast majority of the 6,000 employees (including me). Oh, how my work there seemed wasted--but connections I made there and things that I learned prepared me to take on the work I do today. (Not that I don't continue to wonder at times about the abiding worth of the technology business).
In like manner we may see things going on in our country that waste our legacy, waste our resources--in all likelihood we should mourn the waste, but from it can we not find an opportunity to turn a corner?
In our church we have seen conflict, and we have seen the investment of our shared life and love tarry in yielding fruit. Oh, let us not be discouraged now!
Tomorrow a dear friend of mine will embark on a journey of hope, flying across the country to be reunited with an absconded spouse who betrayed trust in many ways but now seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. May that journey not be the latest vain expenditure of resources trying to revive something that began in genuine faith.
Lord, help us to see where you were working through us all the time that we labored, if indeed we were working faithfully in you. Help bring our work to visible fruition. Let us not be discouraged or downfallen on any account. Restore us to your fullness of joy.