By Robert Halsey Pine
“Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed…Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your Labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-58 NRSV).
When we do something in vain, we are not bearing fruit in it. How often do we labor and our labor is in vain? St. Paul tells us that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. Have you ever done anything for the Lord that was not a blessing to you and someone else? Now I’m not talking about some busy work in your church like cutting the church lawn or arranging the flowers at the altar. I’m talking about the real labor for the Lord, which is sharing the good news of Christ crucified for our sins and the new life in Him.
We have doubts about our ability to survive or be successful in the natural world. We are shy or afraid to go out on a limb with the Lord for someone. I can remember being bashful when it came to sharing the Lord with others. When something good happened, I wasn’t bold enough to give Him the credit; at least not in public. I was bashful because I really didn’t know Him. He was like a Santa Claus figure.
Right now I’m starting to feel a little childish just by thinking about my relationship with the Lord. Did you ever hide behind your mother’s skirt when you were a child because the neighborhood kids were picking on you? I could shout some pretty bold things at my antagonists when I was behind mom’s skirt. Our Lord’s skirt is not one to hide behind. He expects us to stand beside Him and to walk with Him. The message that we should be sending is love. There is no need to hide. He wants us to love our antagonists, our enemies.
Of all the things that we do in a lifetime, laboring in the Lord should be our most enjoyable and bear the most fruit. I have done some foolish things for people when I have heard the Lord’s directions. I have put aside my fears that I would embarrass myself and gone out on a limb with the Lord. He has never let me fail when I am laboring for Him. My labor for Him has never been in vain.
Robert Halsey Pine was born in Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.