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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Scism

Why Do I Even Try? Finding Grace and Purpose in Everyday Work


Why do I even try? The words beat against the door of my mind as I walked through the house picking up toys. I had made a favorite meal for one of my kids, and that kid complained. I had vacuumed another kid’s bedroom, and within hours, it was a mess. The everyday work of my life left me wondering if there was even any purpose in it.


Why do I even try? Relentless, the question demanded an answer. And then I heard a whisper to my soul . . . because it’s for Me


In his letter to the Colossians, Paul says “work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (3:23 NLT). He tucks these words into his instructions about how to be a wife, husband, child, and worker, encouraging us to find purpose in all work—even the unseen, unappreciated, and unfinished—because it is work for the Lord.  


Jesus knows what it’s like to do unseen work. 

The New Testament is FULL of details about Christ’s work: sermons, miracles, parables. Though we’re able to read about his life and ministry, we cannot see it all. In fact, John writes, “Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25 NLT). 


Jesus did unseen work too. I imagine He picked up trash along the roadside as He and the disciples were walking, showed gentleness in conversations with difficult people, and offered more of Himself despite exhaustion. Jesus knew His Heavenly Father saw the work He was doing—all of it. You too can have confidence that even when no one sees the work you do, God notices. 


Jesus knows how it feels to be unappreciated. 

In John 5, we read about Jesus healing a man who had been sick for 38 years. He tells the man to pick up his mat and walk, which the man does. All this happened on the Sabbath day—a day of no work. When the Jewish leaders learned that Jesus had healed the man on the day of rest, they “began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules” (John 5:16 NLT). 


Jesus wasn’t just unappreciated; He was criticized for doing a miracle. For healing a man! What was His response? Did He lose His cool and yell at the religious leaders for being ungrateful? Did He throw His hands up and walk away, declaring He was done doing everything for everyone else? Did he react in a way you and I might when the frustration of being unappreciated finally pushes us over the edge?


No. He replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17 NLT). Jesus kept working. He kept serving. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, so can you. When all you hear are complaints and you long to be thanked, know this: God recognizes your effort, and He is always working. He is working in and through the thankless work you do. 


Jesus understands the reality of unfinished work. 

“It is finished,” Jesus spoke these final words from the cross before giving up His spirit (John 19:30 NLT). And though God’s plan of redemption was completed by the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection, Jesus left the work of spreading the Gospel unfinished. He ascended into heaven after his resurrection knowing He had not yet seen every believer (including you and me) come to faith in Him. In His last words on earth, Jesus said to the apostles, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT). 


Despite all the work Jesus had done—making disciples and revealing God’s grace—there was still work to do. Notice that He didn’t leave this world feeling discouraged because of the unfinished; instead, He trusted God to continue the work He had begun and instructed His followers (including you and me) to keep working. 


Could it be that in the unfinished work of your daily life, you can point those around you to the life of Jesus? Could your attitude and willingness to serve reflect the humility and service of your Savior? While you may never enjoy the full completion of tasks like laundry or dishes, you can trust that God will complete your most important work—that of sharing the Good News and pointing people to Him.

When your work is unseen, unappreciated, and unfinished remember that Jesus understands those feelings and offers grace.

And if you begin to wonder why do I even try, I pray you remember who you’re trying for.


Praying Paul’s words, “work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people,” you can ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, giving you a changed attitude toward your work. And you can remember that Jesus came to earth to live as a human so that He could feel what you feel, offering you grace to renew your heart.

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