Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
– 1 Corinthians 15:58
For the last few days we’ve been meditating on sections of 1 Corinthians 15 – by far, the longest chapter in this letter and one that focuses exclusively on the issue of resurrection from the dead.
It is because of resurrection that Paul could write, in this last sentence of the chapter, that “your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” We can infer that toil outside the Lord might indeed be in vain. What is toil that is outside of the Lord? Toil we take on for our own sake, instead of His. This, of course, is vanity.
Perhaps you remember this daily devotion from a couple of months ago:
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
– 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Living for ourselves is futile, vain. It amounts to nothing because we’re going to die and not live here anymore. If your goal is to be enshrined in a hall of fame here on earth, be aware that it will seem like a shanty once you’re sitting in heaven.
Remember that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:19-21
Why work for treasure that you’ll only have to leave behind when you can work for treasure that you’ll be able to enjoy for all eternity?
If we really believe in the resurrection of the dead, it will completely change our perspective on this life. It will alter our priorities – drastically. Sadly, many people yawn at the resurrection – “Oh, yeah; I’ve heard about that…but what about my problems here?” Every problem viewed in the light of resurrection shrinks.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, I will view this day before me in the light of resurrection…and watch it change complexion before my eyes…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)