Lifelong Labouring with God
by Janson Kam, Engineer, Labourer in NTU Ministry
Lifelong labouring — two words that appear simple and plain to the eye, yet filled with a world of meaning, joys, tears, struggles, perseverance and deliverance.
I find the concept of lifelong labouring interesting, for it means a commitment to walk with Jesus and to serve the Lord in His harvest field , both now and for the rest of our lives.
Nevertheless, we as humans can be very myopic; we live for the moment, so who is to say that we can keep this commitment to labour for Him for the rest of our lives?
Thinking about this and looking back at some of the materials from the recent Asia Pacific Campus Forum (APCF), I thank God for bringing to mind some lessons which gave me the confidence and certainty to know that lifelong labouring is possible.
It is something I am doing and will do for the rest of my life as its foundation is built not on the temporal will of man, but on the will of an eternal God.
Firstly, I have learnt that a close, intimate relationship with our creator God is the foremost ingredient in lifelong labouring.
It is like the coconut milk in nasi lemak. We may have the most luxurious ingredients to adorn the nasi lemak platter, but if the rice had not been infused in coconut milk, it is not nasi lemak.
Similarly, we may equip ourselves with all the skills of ‘doing ministry’, but lacking that deep, intimate relationship with God, our labour is in vain and will not bring forth the fragrance of God.
We have plenty of reminders from God Himself — the famous illustration of God being the vine and us being the branches is one of them
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”– John 15:5,
for apart from Him, we cannot bear any fruit.
Furthermore, our relationship with God reflects how we labour for Him, for we would not be able to preach Jesus as our Lord, if we ourselves are not close to Him, under His Lordship.
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” – 2 Corinthians 4:5
Lifelong labouring is not something we set our mind to and then strike out on our own. He is there for us every step of the way and has promised to instruct us in the way we should go.
I believe God when He said that the man who delights in God’s law, who knows Him and enjoys a close relationship with Him, will be like a tree planted by streams of water.
I want to be nourished with the refreshing life-giving water of the Lord even as I labour for Him.
Janson (second from right) with his discipleship group
Secondly, I am also reminded that lifelong labouring is for a lifetime, which means that this labour stretches across all the different stages and seasons of my life.
This perspective is important for me because knowing that God desires to work through us in different seasons helps me to persevere through my present struggles with the knowledge that God is good. Life has different demands on us and in each season, our service could possibly take different forms.
Yet, my heart should remain steadfast as I serve the same, perfect God, the Lord of my youth who loved me even before I knew it.
With that said, I am excited to embark on this journey with the Lord to serve Him wherever He calls, regardless of the circumstances or life stage I am in. If you’re reading this, I hope you share the same excitement too!
I would just like to end with a word of prayer:
Dear Lord, you know me as well as every one of my brothers and sisters in Christ. You know us and love us deeply.
I thank you for the privilege to know you, and the joy of being commissioned into your service, in your harvest field.
Would you put in my heart and those of my brothers and sisters, the desire to know you more and to love you, and strengthen and equip us in every way for lifelong labouring?
May we take joy in you, every step of the way.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.