Are You Laboring in Vain?

Rhema TeamAbundant Life, January 2023 WOF, Successful Living1 Comment


THROUGHOUT MOST OF my ministry, I’ve based my life on Psalm 127:1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” Before I do anything, I make sure the Lord is in it.

Notice that in this scripture, they did build the house. But their labor was in vain because the Lord wasn’t in it. Many times in life or ministry, what we do is good, but it isn’t God’s plan at all. It’s man’s plan.

Psalm 127:1 refers to more than just building a house. Of course, in the natural, if God is not in what you are doing, it will fail. But this verse is talking about spiritual things as well.

Whatever you are doing for God, ask yourself, “Is this God’s plan?” Remember, if the Lord is not building the house, all your labor is in vain. You can build an entire house—life, career, church, or ministry—and yet not have any part of it built according to God’s plan. This scripture points out that they had to labor to build it because God wasn’t in it. Get God involved in everything you do. Find out His plan first.

It is easy to stray from God’s plan. Ministers especially are susceptible to straying from God’s plan with something that seems right, good, and legitimate. But if God didn’t tell them to do it, they end up pursuing the wrong plan. They also forfeit the fullness of God’s blessing.

For example, in October 1979 we started Healing School on the Rhema USA campus at the Lord’s direction. Our custom was to begin each class with someone leading the singing. Many times, we’d spend 45 minutes singing and worshipping the Lord.

One day as I was going to Healing School, the Lord spoke to me. It was so real it was as if someone were walking beside me. He said, “What is the purpose of this meeting?”

I answered, “It’s a healing meeting.”

“What kind of a healing meeting?”

“Well, we’re teaching people who need to be healed how to receive healing, and we’re teaching others how to minister to the sick.”

The Lord said, “Then it’s not a worship service.”

“No,” I said, “it’s not a worship service.”

“Then don’t try to have a worship service. Only sing a few songs, just enough to get the congregation to participate, and go right into your teaching.”

So we stopped conducting Healing School as we had been and got in line with God’s plan.

Learn to wait for the right time to implement God’s plan - wait for the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Kenneth E. Hagin


I once attended a meeting called an “Idea Exchange.” Ministers from various churches and denominations across the country were invited. Some ministers asked me, “Brother Hagin, what is the secret of your success?”

I answered, “The only secret of success I know is walking in line with the Word of God, and praying and listening to the Holy Spirit. I simply listen to what the Spirit of God says to do, and then I do it.”

My entire ministry is the result of believing the Word, praying in other tongues, and being obedient to what God told me to do. Sometimes you have to pray and wait on God to find out what His plans are for your life, your ministry, your church, or whatever it is He has called you to do.

Once a minister friend and his wife came to visit my wife and me. We drove them around Rhema and showed them all the facilities. They said, “You must be carrying a heavy load.”

“No,” I said, “I’m not the least bit burdened by anything. It wasn’t my idea or my plan to start a training center.”

That’s why I don’t carry the burden! “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” And I know God can get the job done! Rhema is the result of what God said to do, not what I wanted. It’s not my plan—it’s God’s.


One reason many ministers miss God’s plan for their lives is that they try to be a “jack of all trades and a master of none.” When people find their area of anointing and stay in it—not trying to be someone they’re not—they become effective in whatever they are doing for God.

Years ago I announced during Campmeeting that we were going to start a Bible school. Shortly after, we received many letters that said, “God told us to start a Bible school, but we don’t know how. Could you tell us how?”

When God told us to start one, we didn’t know how either. We had to seek His plan for what He wanted us to do. We wrote those people back and said, “If God told you to start a Bible school, He will tell you how to do it. If He doesn’t tell you how to do it, He didn’t direct you to start one in the first place!”

Many people who have some sensitivity to the Holy Spirit sense what God is doing and what He wants to do. Then they run off with it and try to build something. They didn’t take time to wait before the Lord and get His plans for them. Because they add to God’s plan or take away from it, they get what God wanted to do in a mess and sometimes even ruin it entirely. Learn to wait for the right time to implement God’s plan—wait for the quickening of the Holy Spirit.


Once we get God’s plan and begin to follow it, it is vital that we learn to rest in Him. So often God really does tell Christians to do something, but then they try to build it or do it themselves. They think they have to perform it. Some of them labor until the strain of it literally kills them.

Then someone will say, “See, that proves healing isn’t for everyone, because that fine fellow worked for the Lord, but he died in the midst of doing God’s will.”

No, in that circumstance, if you do all the laboring to bring God’s plan to pass and you don’t trust Him to do it, you may work yourself to death!

Hebrews 4:3 says, “We which have believed do enter into rest.” Seek God, and let Him bring His own plan to pass. When God tells you to do something, you need to rest as you go, glory to God!

[Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from the article “Except the Lord Build the House,” which previously appeared in the October 2001 issue of The Word of Faith.]



Kenneth E. Hagin

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One Comment on “Are You Laboring in Vain?”

  1. I rest from hard work, I let God take control. I surrender all my endeavor to him. I find out what He wants me to do and then rest, trusting Him to bring it to pass.

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