“I am afraid that I may have labored over you in vain.” (Gal. 4:11)
From this statement, we know that Paul put a lot into his ministry to the saints in Galatia. He describes the ministry as labor. We don’t really know why Paul chose this word to describe his evangelistic efforts. Perhaps he wants to remind them of the dedication he gave to them in bringing them to the knowledge of Christ. That gives him reason to be so upset with their recent actions of trying to go to something other than Christ and Him crucified.
There is a cry from Paul here I think. An earnest plea to be heard again as he was at the first. A cry that comes from a heart that is breaking over the actions of those he worked so hard with. Later in the book (Chapter 6) he will tell them that when someone is overtaken by sin go to them in a spirit of meekness. Good advice for Paul and for us.
This, I think, is a good place to mull over our own approach to someone who is wandering away from the faith. How do we deal with that? One way is to ignore it. If they leave, let them leave is often the resulting attitude of the brother or sister who remains faithful. Another way is to contact the church leaders or the minister and tell them what is happening with the hope that they will do something about it. Paul doesn’t let it lie, does he? Confrontation of sin and sinners is a difficult thing but if you have labored over the soul of the sinner it is a necessity.
Task for Today: First, put in some labor on someone’s soul. Spouse, child, parent, friend, neighbor or stranger, work at leading them to the gospel. Second, stay with them through the difficult times and continue to work on their spiritual growth. Paul could not stay in Galatia but we can stay with our project and see them through to the end. In a spirit of meekness of course.