Not in Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm, Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Jesus’ resurrection guarantees us that the Lord we serve is immortal. More than that, it promises that he has made us immortal. If that is so, what can anyone one earth do to us? Kill us? And then what? We just come back to life later anyway. They haven’t done anything! Ridicule and persecute us? And what do we care? For our Friend we claim the Giver of life and the Destroyer of death. Do they know more than the One who made everything, who proved himself by dying and taking his life back again, and now rules all from heaven? Here at Jesus’ resurrection we have strength for all our trials. Here at Jesus’ resurrection we have the answer to all our skeptics, every crisis of faith. When they dig up Jesus’ dead body, we will be afraid. But since we know the tomb is empty, “…stand firm. Let nothing move you.” The one who puts his trust in him will never be put to shame.

Instead of fear, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.” Isn’t that what the life of faith looks like in light of the resurrection? Martin Luther once said it this way, “Faith…makes us altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises; it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them.”

Why live such an active life doing the work of the Lord? Because, when you see your life through the lense of Jesus’ resurrection, “…you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It may be a labor at times, that is true. The work may be hard. One old pastor once commented that the closest a pastor ever gets to knowing the pain of childbirth is in the pain of giving birth to his sermons. Of course, how would he know? He was a man. The point is, all our work for the Lord may be hard work–from preaching, to witnessing, to attending meetings, to paying for it all. Jesus’ earthly work was labor, too.        

But it is not in vain. It is never empty or useless, even if it seems hard or frustrating. The power that raised Christ from the dead, the power that someday will raise each one of us from the dead, stands behind it all. The victory is all on our side. Maybe the game keeps going because there is still time on the clock, but the score is infinitely out of reach for the other side. We have won. Our service to the Lord only helps to expand the count of souls who will share in our Savior’s victory.

Keep working hard, friends. Your living Lord and his empty tomb are proof that it is worth it.

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