Your Labor – in the Lord – Is Not in Vain

Today the governor prohibited churches from meeting indoors. This is obviously not the direction we hoped for. You can pray for the elders, as we discuss our next steps. 

But for now, for you who have put so much time and sweat into our new facility: 

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 Cor. 15:58

Say it again: your labor is not in vain. That’s because your work is “in the Lord”. If one’s work is not “in the Lord”, sooner or later, it will all be “in vain”. As Solomon put it all over Ecclesiastes, everything done under the sun is “vanity of vanities”. Only that which will last is that which is “in the Lord”. 

So then, what does Paul mean by “in the Lord”? Leading to this verse, Paul is thinking and talking about the resurrection, swallowing up death, and taking away its victory, and its sting – its vanity – its “in vainness”. 

Christ’s resurrection has swallowed up death, but it has also swallowed us up too. All that we are, all that we do, is now “in” the life of Christ. The vanity, the futility of life is being swallowed up and being replaced by everlasting fruit – fruit that never fades or spoils. All because of the power of the resurrection of Jesus, operating in us. 

This means that, no matter how much force an “opposing party” applies to you, or our church, there is a greater, more powerful force operating – all the time. A force that defeated death, and therefore has something left over to deal with lockdown orders. In fact, this power uses lockdown orders, for its powerful ends. 

As Paul wrote Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:8-9, while in chains (and notice where he starts, and where he ends):

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

The resurrection means our work is “in the Lord”, and therefore it is not bound by the constraints of czars or governors.

So then, his exhortation to Timothy in the next verse is for us: 

10 Therefore [we] endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

God still has work to do in Elk Grove, to build up His church, into His Son. So press on, enduring all this, out of love for those He has yet to call to His eternal glory. Your labor, in the Lord, will not be in vain!