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Unless the Lord Builds

Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.  Psalms 127:2a NASB

Photo courtesy of morguefile and imelenchon.I recently had a day on my job that was an exercise in futility. I executed a change in my work schedule I thought would be productive. I worked longer and harder than usual but accomplished even less than I did on most days. When God is not working with us we actually labor in vain.

The next morning part of my daily reading was Psalm 127. God is always right on time. Reading this passage I realized why my efforts the previous day were so futile. I tried to build the house without His help.  Sometimes there's a very fine line between diligence and striving. God wants His people to be diligent. But God exhorts us not to strive. He tells us to stop striving, believe, and know He is God.

The pertinent point is how to distinguish between hard work and nervous effort? It’s simply the one accompanied by peace. That particular day God tried to give me a sign: restlessness in my spirit. Peace is referred to as the barometer of the soul. It’s the indicator of how well our efforts are aligning with God's will. It is not the absence of struggle but the presence of calm or tranquilly in our daily battles. Our Heavenly Father is concerned about His children's daily life, and peace is the compass that guides us.

The pivotal question is whether we believe God wants to take care of us in the mundane aspects of our lives. The Bible says,  “Faith without works is dead.” But some of us practice that as work without faith. Maybe I should have taken a few moments alone with God and asked Him why I was so restless that day. 

When we feel that compulsion to work longer days, sometimes we should just shorten our workday and retire early. This may be the most diligent, obedient, and productive thing to do. For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep (Psalm 127:2c).

(Photo courtesy of morguefile and imelenchon.)

(For more devotions, visit us at www.christiandevotions.us.)

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Ken Barnes

Ken Barnes has had a twenty-five year career in educational pursuits. He has taught in various public and private schools in Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and Virginia. He also worked for seventeen years with Youth With A Mission as a school leader, recruiter, and director. Ken holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places. He currently is a speaker, blogger, and freelance writer. Ken lives with his wife Sharon in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Visit Ken at https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/ 


  1. Many times the advice of Mr. Barnes is exactly what those of us who follow Jesus need to hear.