“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)
Psalm 127 starts by stressing the uselessness of human toil without God’s blessing: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
As humans, we should do our work. We should not be lazy — see for example Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”.
But the outcome of our work is not in our own hands. We need God’s blessing, otherwise we won’t succeed. This was for example experienced by the Israelites at the time of the prophet Haggai. They neglected God’s temple, and therefore God withdrew His blessing: “You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6). Only when they started to rebuild the temple, they prospered again.
In Latin, there is the common saying “ora et labora” — “pray and work”. Both are important! For without God’s blessing, our work is in vain.
How do you experience God’s blessing in your work?