ODJ: Never in Vain

April 15, 2018 

READ: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 

Your labour in the Lord is not in vain (v.58 NIV).

In 1882, Antoni Gaudí began construction on the Sagrada Família, a basilica in Barcelona slated for completion in 2026. The National Geographic reports that at the time of Gaudí’s unexpected death, less than 25 percent of the exterior was finished. Even if he had not died prematurely, Gaudí knew he’d never see the completed work; but it didn’t bother him. He believed he was working for God. Whenever asked about the immense time for the project, he answered, “My client is not in a hurry.”

It often seems impossible to see the fruit of our work. We want to believe we’re contributing to God’s kingdom (Matt. 6:10), but sometimes it’s hard to catch sight of how this is true. We believe God has handed us gifts and a job to do, but at times our efforts appear to accomplish little. Does the way we spend our days have any bearing on how God intends to love and redeem our world? Does carpentry or teaching or physics really participate in the new world God is making?

The apostle Paul insisted that Jesus’ resurrection secured believers’ hope, not just for some distant future but also for our lives now. After explaining how in the resurrection “our bodies . . . will be raised in strength,” Paul went on to emphasise that, marvellous as that truth is (1 Cor. 15:43), Jesus’ resurrection did much more than secure eternal life. The apostle also said that because Christ has defeated death, every stitch of work we do now in obedience to God will yield good fruit. “Be strong and immovable,” Paul said. “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (v.58).

Whatever we might feel in moments of frustration, we can be certain that God will make our work fruitful by His power.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: 1 Kings 6:1-38

Reflect on Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15-20. What tasks did God give Adam and Eve? What was their impact to be? Connect this to Paul’s conviction regarding resurrection and work. 
When (or how) do you experience futility in your work? How can you connect the promise and power of Jesus’ resurrection to your efforts?