Then I Said, I Have Labored in Vain – 1 Nephi 21:4-5

4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain; surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
5 And now, saith the Lord—that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him—though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
(1 Nephi 21:4-5)

It’s easy to become discouraged when we don’t see the results of our labors right away. Most accomplishments of value take time, and when we are halfway through, they don’t look at all like the finished product. It’s not surprising that Isaiah felt like his work as a prophet was completely useless when he saw the reaction of the people to his teachings.

But in this chapter, the Lord reassures him that he is doing the right thing, and that everything will be alright in the end. I like the fact that he identifies the Lord as the One who “formed me from the womb,” a reminder that Heavenly Father knows so much more than we do and has been doing this work far longer than we have and that He chose Isaiah as a prophet even before Isaiah was born. I also like the fact that the Lord tells Isaiah that, even if the children of Israel don’t respond to his message right away, the Lord is pleased with his work. We can’t always control the outcomes of our service, particularly when other people’s agency is involved, but if we dedicate ourselves and give everything we have to the callings we have been given, then the Lord will be pleased with our efforts.

Today, I will do my best to fulfill the callings I have been given. I will remember that my Heavenly Father knows me far better than I know myself, and that He has given me these callings in His wisdom for reasons which I may not fully appreciate. I will take confidence in knowing that my best efforts will be acceptable to Him even if they seem inadequate to me.

3 thoughts on “Then I Said, I Have Labored in Vain – 1 Nephi 21:4-5

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  1. Thanks Paul. I recently reviewed a talk that provided a reminder that we are called to help Him do His work. I find so much peace remembering that it truly is His work and while He asks us to take upon us His yoke, He is able to pull much harder than we can and through His grace & mercy He magnifies our relatively meager best efforts in accomplishing His ends.

    Aaron E. Roome 704-699-6099



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