Today’s reflection is written by Deacon Karen Katamay.
“I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.’” —Isaiah 49:4
As a Lutheran, I know that I am saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from works. Yet, even as I know that I cannot earn my salvation through good works, it is my faith that inspires me to do God’s will whenever I can. But if I am doing those good works just to be noticed and rewarded, then as the Bible verse says, I am laboring in vain, and spending my strength for nothing but my own reward.
So where does my true reward come from? It comes not from anything I do, but rather from being a child of God, and from knowing that Jesus cared enough about me to die on the cross and rise again for my salvation. My true reward is being in relationship with a God who loves me and all people. My true joy comes from loving God and loving neighbor.
The second verse for this day provides us with the best ending for this devotion:
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” —1 Corinthians 15:58