Why our service is never futile

Week beginning: 5th February, 2017 | By Jeremy Cooke | London

"You have said harsh things against me," says the LORD. "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out His requirements… now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'"

Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honoured His Name.

"They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession… you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Malachi 3 v 13-18 (NIV, 1984)

Why might it seem futile to serve God? Because we appear to get nothing out of it? Is that a good reason or merely evidence of our self-centred nature - our old self - looking for what God will do for us?

It is easy to be discouraged as we see the arrogant, the self-promoting and the self-centred flourish in the competitive legal sphere which we inhabit, whilst our attempts to serve God in the law appear neither to be recognised nor to bear fruit, whether in the eyes of the world or in what we perceive as the effect of our witness to Him.

So what does Malachi say? Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other. They met with each other to share their pain. They must have encouraged one another and talked in such a way that the Lord listened and heard. The ensuing picture is yet more encouraging - a scroll of remembrance was written in His presence of all those who feared Him and honoured His Name.

The Lord knows what is happening to us and we are to be His treasured possession. That should be enough for us. It is our relationship to Him and our loyalty and fidelity in living for Him that matters most.

What do I get out of serving Him? Not the right question, surely? The Lord knows who are His and He treasures us as we should surely treasure Him.

Prayer Points:

1. Give thanks for the wonderful promises we have in Christ and the knowledge that whatever happens to us, as we serve him, we are his treasured possession.

2. Pray for those who are going to the Student and Young Lawyer Conference at the end of this month – that they will be encouraged in the word of God and in their time together.