Not in Vain
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 (1 Corinthians 15:58).
This is one of those verses I go back to over and over again – especially when I feel overwhelmed.
It’s incredibly encouraging to be reminded that my work is not in vain. Sometimes just being told that what I’m doing isn’t pointless is all the motivation I really need to keep going. Although I read 1 Corinthians 15:58 often, I realized something I’d never thought about when I read it on Sunday.
1 Corinthians 15 is all about resurrection – the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the resurrection body. Paul’s argument is basically that if Christ rose from the dead, we too will rise from the dead (15:21-22). The other side of the argument is that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, we won’t be raised from the dead – we have no eternal hope, our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins (15:17).
His point is the centrality of the resurrection to the life and message of the Christian – Christ’s resurrection means that our faith not useless (15:14). It also creates in the believer a longing for eternity – it is not only for this life we have hope in Christ (15:19).
Reading 15:58 in the context of all that sheds light on the reason why our labor in the Lord is not in vain. 15:58 is the practical, daily application of the Easter message in the Christian’s life – it’s usually called having an eternal perspective. Walking in the confidence that Christ has been raised from the dead speaks to both my present and future – the confidence I have for the future gives purpose to my present work.
Christ has indeed been raised from the dead (15:20), therefore our labor in Him is not in vain (15:58).
Written by Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry
"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11