Friday, 4 September 2020
…and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Revelation 2:3
In the previous verse, there were five commendable points in the Ephesian church – their works, labor, patience, intolerance of evil, and testing of those who proclaimed to be apostles. Jesus now turns these around and restates His words in a positive way concerning the fortitude of those who have so conducted themselves.
Taken together they read –
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.” Revelation 2:2, 3
In seeing this, the words can be more clearly evaluated. Jesus begins with, “and you have persevered.” The word gives the sense of bearing a burden. They had picked up the load they had been charged with and carried it. What is borne is debated. Whether it was the accusation of false teachers (as noted in the previous verse, they would not tolerate evil and may have faced accusation because of it), persecution from others, or the heavy weight of the labors of the ministry, they were faithfully faithful to not only lift the load, but to continue with it despite its weight.
From there, it next says, “and have patience.” It is the same word found in the previous verse, also translated as “patience.” As seen, the word signifies perseverance, steadfastness, and so on. One could rightly think of “constancy.” They remained unswerving in their ability to exhibit patience.
It next continues with, “and have labored for My name’s sake.” This looks to the previous verse where Christ acknowledged their labors. The words now explain that they were done for the sake of His name. In other words, whatever labors they accomplished as a body, some of which may have been the same type found in any general setting, these were openly acknowledged as being done for Christ’s name and not simply for the normal advancement of human life.
In this, they not only labored, but they “have not become weary.” The normal pattern of human labor is to work until tired, and then give up. However, instead of allowing the toil to wear them out, they remained invigorated and steadfast in their efforts. Charles Ellicott succinctly states it as, “They had toiled on to very weariness without wearying of their toil.” This is the correct sense of what is stated.
Life application: Those at Ephesus continued on despite what must have been long, tedious, or difficult circumstances. It is what perseverance implies. It is like continuing up the side of a mountain after the point of exhaustion is reached. The goal is what matters.
Further, through their struggles for His name’s sake, they waited patiently for the fruits of the labors to be realized. Instead of losing heart and getting redirected to something less important, they waited with the assurance of the coming actualization of their efforts.
And the perseverance and patience they demonstrated was reflected in their tireless efforts. This is highly commendable in any situation because fatigue and frustration can easily tire out the strongest athlete in any type of race, but this was a race of the highest order – for the name of Jesus. In this, they followed Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9 –
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Christ found these things commendable in the church at Ephesus. As this is so, He will find the same attributes commendable in our conduct as well. Let us heed what the Lord says, and then let us apply these positives to our own actions.
Thank You Lord for the positive examples of perseverance and endurance that are given in Scripture. In reading them, we can know how to act as well. Certainly, the things You have found commendable there will also be found worthy in us. And so, may our hearts desire to apply these lessons to our conduct in all we do. In this, we will be pleasing in Your sight, and will be commended by You on the day You evaluate our lives! Amen.