Recently I spoke on some themes taken from the end of 1 Corinthians. We’ve shared the audio from that talk here at Into the Harvest (you can listen to it here) but for those of you who are visual learners, I wanted to share my thoughts here on our blog. I hope it encourages and challenges you.
I’ve been thinking about the end of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, particularly the verse at the end of chapter 15:
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, 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.”
Why It’s Important
Now, we know this verse comes at the end of a long chapter and towards the end of an equally long book. Paul has been dropping truth on his readers for 15 chapters, all of it leading to the call to action found in this verse.
Paul spends 15 chapters sharpening our focus and faith. And the reason we can “stand firm,” “let nothing move us” and “give ourselves fully” is because we are beginning to understand the perspective that comes through faith. You see, I believe that once we start following the Lord we start to gain some basic truths that help us see the world through His eyes.
Those truths now dictate my own perspective on life, as follows:
- This world belongs to God and he is actively at work among us. “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.” (Psalm 24.1) Life isn’t primarily about us. There’s a much larger story God is telling that he’s inviting us to be part of.
- This story that God is telling centers around his son, Jesus the Messiah. He is true north. If you’re going to successfully navigate your life, you’ll have to figure out who Jesus is and then you’ll have to reorient around him. If you want to be part of the story God is telling, you’re going to have to figure out what it takes to belong to Jesus and to live with Jesus.
- What happens in this life is a small fraction of what God has planned. The life to come, the age to come, the life beyond death is much more significant. In fact, there’s no comparison. It’s worth sacrificing everything you have in this life if it better positions you for the life to come.
- Even though this life is short and just a small part of what God has planned it is critical. The way you live now matters. The choices you make now matter. It’s kind of like getting on a plane to travel to some beautiful remote location where you’re going to start a new life in paradise. It would be a tragedy to miss the flight and never get on that plane. It would also be quite strange to get on the plane and then forget about the destination and start focusing on the peanuts and the in-flight movie… as if that was what the trip was all about!
What Life is About
As we start to see these truths play out in our lives, we can grasp more fully what Paul is saying here in 1 Corinthians 15, “Therefore… stand firm. Let nothing move you.” In other words, enjoy the peanuts but don’t get distracted by them. Don’t get caught up in the in-flight movie. Don’t allow yourself to think that it’s all about getting to the next level of Sudoku. Don’t get disheartened by the turbulence we encounter along the way. Instead, always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.
My hope is that you have come to a place where you realize that the only reason you are here on Earth is to give yourself to the work of the Lord. Everything else is peanuts and distraction. In fact, I would go so far as to say that when it comes to the work of the Lord, we shouldn’t try to figure out if we’re doing enough, or doing more than most. It’s not about having balance in life! – I hate that phrase. People who live life with “balance” have never been overwhelmed by a truth greater than themselves.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. That’s why you are here. That’s what this life is all about.
What Comes Next
In my next post I want take these ideas a step further and give you three ways – basically three qualities – you can pursue to make sure you’re giving yourself fully to the work of the Lord. But even as you ponder what we’ve covered today, consider these questions:
- Where do you find yourself today?
- Do you have a “God-perspective” on what this life is all about?
- Have you gotten distracted along the way?