Work, Labour, and Patience


Elder Mark D. Rowell


1 Thes 1:3 “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”

Paul introduces a fairly common theme we find in many of his writings: that of the combination of faith, love, and hope. Probably the most well-known place is found in 1 Cor 13:13, but it’s also found in Colossians and other places as well. The significance of the combination is no accident. The base elements of faith, love, and hope are the fundamental aspects of the child of God with regard to how we live in this world.

Now, combining faith, love, and hope with action in each moves the application to the next level. In fact, it evokes a very powerful spiritual desire in the believer and compels them to action. Paul could have said “remembering without ceasing your faith, love, and hope” and he would have been justified in so doing based on the truth of the statement. However, adding the actions in each of those three things makes us realize that we need to be doing something.

The “work of faith” gives the reader insight into the purpose of the faith that God bestows on us in the new birth. You see, faith is granted that we might act by it. This work of faith means that all we do should be done so in accordance to the faith within us. Not only should we “work our faith,” but each thing that we do should be of that faith! Are we perfect in all our works? Certainly not! But faith being the “how” of our work will enable us to be faithful in the things pertaining to the Lord. Paul tells us to “…work out [our] own salvation, with meekness and trembling…” We need to be busy working the work of faith each and every day of our lives. May God give us grace to work the work of faith.


The “labour of love” gives the reader insight into the true meaning of love. You might say that “work” and “labour” are the same, but they are not! Labour gives the sense of strenuous toiling in or for something. We often hear that love should not be just spoken but shown by action or deed. This takes it further than that! A labour of love should call to mind the love of the Saviour.  His labour of love was to give His life for the children of God! Jesus was “…poured out like water…” in His great sacrifice for us! We should expend every ounce of “faithful energy” we have to love one another! John says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren…” (1 John 3:14) Our labour of love should mimic this in every way! May God give us grace to love one another as we should.

The “patience of hope” gives the reader insight into what it truly means to hope. Mounce's Bible Dictionary describes patience as “endurance in adherence to an object.”  So, patience isn’t just waiting for something, it’s the endurance as we “lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Heb 6:18) We are taught to endure in this life by clinging to the Lord through our hope! We must adhere ourselves to the Great Shepherd of the Sheep and cling to Him in hope that is our anchor! We must endure this life in hope of that which is to come! May God give us grace to be patient of hope.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Heb 6:10)

The Lord Himself does not forget our work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in this life. Remember, the Lord is faithful in all things, and he always abideth faithful and will never deny us! May we strive in our lives to do these things, as a profitable servant of the Lord, and, when our life has passed away, may we hear those good words of the Lord: “Well done thou good and faithful servant."