Ever feel like giving up?
You put your check in the offering basket month after month, and after years, you still struggle to make ends meet. You share the gospel with your child for decades and have yet to see her trust Christ for salvation. You pray for your friend to be healed for years, then he goes to be with the Lord. You spend dozens of hours counseling a couple struggling in their marriage, only to see them divorce.
I know pastors who’ve preached the gospel for years yet see little church growth. And small group leaders who’ve regularly prepared for meetings, opened their homes, and gotten together with those they serve, only to see their groups dwindle. I know believers who have adopted only to experience rejection and pain from the child they took in.
Sometimes we feel like, “What’s the point? Why am I doing this? Why keep praying? Why keep reaching out to this person? Why keep serving? Nothing’s happening.”
Yet God tells us:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 CO 15.58)
The word “therefore” connects this verse to what Paul shared previously, namely, the doctrine of the resurrection. Paul says since Christ has been raised, we’ll be raised with him to enjoy the fruit of our labors for eternity. “Therefore” nothing we do for Christ is in vain. We’ll be rewarded – not here but in heaven.
If there were no resurrection all Paul suffered for the gospel would have been pointless:
Why are we in danger every hour? …I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:30-32)
In other words, if there’s no resurrection, why am I doing this? Why should I expose myself to danger for the gospel? Why fight beasts in Ephesus? If there’s no resurrection, eat, drink and be merry. Live for today.
But there will be a resurrection, so none of our work in Christ is in vain. Every prayer, counseling session, act of mercy, no matter what the visible results are here, will be rewarded.
You will be raised imperishable in Christ, so all you do for Jesus has eternal significance. That’s the point. That’s why you should be steadfast and immovable. That’s why you shouldn’t throw in the towel. Keep abounding in the Lord’s work.
photo by Jeremy Brooks