Be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (I Corinthians 15:58 NRSV)
I am a person who like to form pictures in my mind of what scripture is saying to me. It is when I can picture the text that I better understand and develop an application for my life. Reading this portion of scripture makes me think of digging in my heels and standing tall and firm in my faith. I may sway, rock and roll with the blowing winds, but I will not bend nor break and I shall not be moved. First Corinthians chapter 15 is the most comprehensive teaching on the resurrection of the body, and eternal life for the believer, in all of scripture. True, there are other text such as First Thessalonians 5 but it is in Corinthians that Paul writes some wonderful gems; “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain and your faith has been in vain”, and “For since death came through a human being (Adam) then the resurrection of the dead has come through a human being (Jesus)”, and “for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” and finally “this corruptible body shall put on incorruption, and this mortal body will be clothed with immortality”. He further goes on to tell us:
A. Be steadfast, firmly fixed in place. The Greek word alludes to sitting in a chair rather than pacing around--"fixed" B. Immovable, not subject to change firm in belief determination, loyal C. Always excelling (beyond measure) in the work of the Lord D. Because we know in the Lord our labor is not in vain. Whatever we do for the kingdom of God, it will not be in vain. God has promised to reward us for our efforts. There is a reward in heaven for those who endure, but what about right now, what about the day to day grind of unfortunate events, rejection, setbacks, illnesses, despair and bouts of loneliness and pain. Can we find hope in this text for our everyday challenges? My answer is “YES”. As believers, the resurrection gives us assurance and confidence that every promise of God will be fulfilled, including the resurrection of our body. Even this promise, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. It is because of the resurrection that we are encouraged to be fruitful in our earthly toil and to fulfil the good work that God has given us to do. Let us never doubt God's word, but instead follow the exhortation, to fulfil our calling enthusiastically, and to remain steadfast, in the Lord's work, knowing that our toil is not fruitless. Our perspective as we labor for the Lord should be that it is not in vain. Therefore, let us be faithful to the work he has called us to do. Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for precious promise that the labor we do for you on this earth is not in vain. Empower us to remain steadfast and immovable in our faith and let our work, no matter how small, always excel in fruitfulness for you. Let us be faithful in the work you have called us to do. Amen.
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