I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. - Revelation 2:2-3
In the letters written to the seven churches in Revelation, we see Jesus Christ, creator of the Universe, the Son of God, The Messiah, making very personal statements. Not only does he know what members of the church go through, He wants us to know that He is aware of it. In all that we do as Christians– the struggles, the battles against temptations, the sacrifices of the flesh and the persecution we may bear in Christ’s name, Jesus knows about it. He knows our labors. There are many stories of missionaries traveling across the globe to spread the Gospel, only to be met with sickness, hostility and a tiny following. In God’s eyes they are just as victorious as the pastors leading thousands of churchgoers in a revival meeting. Why? Because they made the decision to follow Jesus, come what may.
We worship a God who values obedience over burnt offerings. A God who wants His Children to do His Will for His glory, not for our own. Dotted all over America are churches that are sticking to the Word of God and using it as the basis of all their theology. Churches with Christians who are not willing to compromise God’s truth to please the world. Small, Bible-believing congregations who may not be on television, who may not rent out sports complexes or have Bentleys in their parking lots. But what they do have is a heart for God, to glorify Him, spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preach The Word accurately. They reject the apostasy and false doctrines plaguing many churches today for the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord. In church ministries, there are many laborers behind the scenes at who do their part to serve God every week. There are believers who clean after service, work in the nurseries taking care of small children for hours every Sunday, organizing bulletins or preparing food and coffee each week. And there are members who take time to meet every week to pray for their church, families and each other keeping the needs of the church at the throne of God.
There are individual believers who have no options (or the ability) to attend a solid church, who nevertheless diligently study the Bible, listen to sermons and worship from their homes. Many of whom are a part of the growing number of street preaching ministries who share the Gospel right out in their neighborhoods and give out tracts to those who walk by that share the message of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
In foreign countries where Christianity is restricted or banned, house churches are a beacon of light in many spiritually dark places. These small meetings, of sometimes 3 and 4 believers are just as glorious as the great mega-church conferences that take place each year. If not more so, because in many cases these believers are literally risking their lives just to meet and read The Bible together. This is victory! The Prophet Jeremiah preached and preached to his people and was ignored, jailed and beaten for his efforts. Yet he was no less successful than Jonah who ran from his duties, reluctantly preached to a people he despised and ended up leading an entire city to repentance. Success does not only lie in the amount of people we get to come to church, or the amount of family members and friends we lead to Christ or the offerings given to our churches. The victory is already won in our obedience to God when we decide to do those things in the first place.
So for all of you who labor, and have had patience and have shunned evil for the goodness of Christ, Jesus is watching. He sees your faithful service and He knows exactly what you are going through. He knows what you are enduring. He knows what you are sacrificing to pick up your cross and follow Him. And on that glorious day when you can greet your King face to face, rest assured He will not forget your labor. Keep working for our Savior.